Official swimming season begins in Latvia

The official bathing season opens in Latvia on May 15, and this week's weather forecast will encourage many people to take to the water. Last year, firefighters rescued 12 people from the water between May 15 and September 15, but 50 people met a tragic end in the water during the summer season, the State Fire and Rescue Service (VUGD) said.

Analyzing the water bodies where people die during the bathing season, the State Fire and Rescue Service has concluded that in Riga and Pierīga, Kurzeme, and Zemgale, accidents occurred more often in rivers, in Latgale - in lakes, while in Vidzeme accidents occurred in the sea, in rivers, and in lakes.

Most of the fatalities rescued by firefighters from bodies of water were men.

The VUGD urges everyone to think about their summer holiday plans and make them as safe as possible. As the bathing season begins, firefighters warn that water temperatures in the lower layers of water bodies are still very low. If you go swimming in these conditions, don't jump or dive into the water.

When assessing the circumstances of accidents, the VUGD has found that accidents occur in summer when swimming and using various watercraft - SUP boards, catamarans, jet skis, and boats.

The most common causes of accidents are alcohol intoxication, failure to assess the conditions, overestimating one's own strength, and ignoring safety requirements, such as not wearing a life jacket. Last summer, for example, firefighters rushed to the aid of several people whose boats had capsized and they were trapped in the water.

When assessing the water rescue calls, the rescuers concluded that most of them could have been avoided if elementary safety precautions had been taken.

The VUGD calls for the swimming season to start only when the water temperature has reached at least 18 degrees Celsius. Swimming is recommended only in official bathing areas. The Service urges you not to overestimate your strength. Even in well-known bathing sites, it is advisable to check the bottom by walking around it at the start of the bathing season, as trees, stones and other objects may have settled in the bed over the winter and can cause injury.

The VUGD urges parents to be aware that being near water with their children is not a holiday, but overtime work, as they need to be supervised at all times - without interruption.

The VUGD also warns once again that drinking alcohol and relaxing by the water are incompatible. If you are intoxicated, do not go swimming, stay ashore.

"Remember that most people drown while under the influence of alcohol! Stop your friends or relatives from going in the water if they are under the influence of alcohol!" lifeguards urge.

The VUGD reminds you that if you see a person drowning, call the fire brigade immediately on 112, giving the coordinates of the accident site and the means of access as accurately as possible.

As repeatedly reported by LSM over the years, Latvia has a serious problem with a huge number of drownings and other water tragedies every year. Latvia consistently tops European league tables for drownings per capita with dozens of deaths both in summer and in winter when reckless fishermen regularly fall through the ice. Statistics show that on average, a dead person is removed from the water every three days: 122 people in 2020, 100 in 2021, 94 in 2022, and 111 in 2023.

Seen a mistake?

Select text and press Ctrl+Enter to send a suggested correction to the editor

Select text and press Report a mistake to send a suggested correction to the editor

Related articles


Most important