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Drownings in Greece at high rates: Professionals advice to avoid risk during swimming

Drownings in Greece remain at high rates with main reason being that swimmers do not follow safety instructions. A 47-year-old Italian man, a tourist, lost his life while he was swimming at a beach of Herakleio, while a 12-year-old boy collapsed during swimming at a Rethymno beach. Both incidents took place on the island of Crete on Sunday as on Rhodes a 5-year-old boy was found unconscious in the pool of a hotel where he was spending vacation with his family.

On Thursday alone, July 7, a total of 7 people lost their lives due to drowning in the sea in several parts of Greece.

Victims are both locals as well as foreign tourists who come to Greece for sun, swim and fun.

Swimming in the sea and in swimming pools can be dangerous if swimmers of all ages and nationalities do not pay attention to safety measures.

According to the Greek Coast Guard, a total of 42 deaths by drowning occurred in the country’s beaches in the month of June, while the number of deaths in corresponding month last year was 67.

“There is the qualitative characteristic of age, where out of these 42 fellow human beings, 88% were over 60 years old”, GCG spokesman Nikos Alexiou told state broadcaster ERT.

With recommendations and advice to citizens, Alexiouu said “it would be good for people who go to the beach not to overestimate their strength, to stay close to the shore through the buoys, to protect themselves from the sun so that they do not create problems for their health that will end up in unpleasant situations.”

He added that the Coast Guard makes controls about the coverage by life-guards at the Greek beaches.

Αdvice to bathers: ‘Stop dressing kids up like RoboCop’

Director of the Hellenic Lifesaving Academy (ENAK), Nikos Iovanidis, said that  lifesaving coverage in our country this season reaches 86%, although drownings remain at high levels.

“This percentage is quite good compared to previous years. However, drownings remain and are at high rates. A great effort is being made to reduce them, and for this reason, starting this year, the rescues carried out by the lifeguards are also being recorded,” he says

Stop Dressing Kids in the Sea Like They’re Inflatable ‘RoboCop’

Yovanidis underlined that child drowning is “always silent and that “the Greek mothers should stop putting her child in floating armbands, a life jacket, flippers … The child must learn to float and swim and not go to sea like an inflatable “RoboCop”.

Instructions to avoid danger at sea

Another element that exists according to the statistics of the Hellenic Lifesaving Academy (ENAK) is that many bathers do not follow the safety rules. He emphasized to bathers what they should NOT to do when they swim in the sea.

Those who do not know how to swim, – and just float – should always be with one other person
Not to swim in the sea when have eaten, are tired or drunk
Do not swim away from the shore without reason
Watch out for sea currents
Not to dive into murky and unknown waters

Elderly and kids are No 1 risk group

“The lifeguard helps to develop the safety of the tourist product in the country, while the greatest attention must always be given to young children and the elderly who are the No1 age group in drowning. Most drownings occur in calm waters. Nevertheless, people drown in more “wild” places, so the motto is one: “We are careful, we are careful, we are careful!” the director of ENAK added.

A lifeguard in each swimming pool

With regard to swimming pools and the existence of lifeguards, with the new legislation, every place with a swimming pool must have a lifeguard on site.

“Accommodations that have more than 50 rooms and the depth of the pool exceeds 1.5 meters must have a lifeguard, who has the possibility to be not in a fixed place, but around the perimeter of the pool. With the existence of lifeguards, the quality of the services, but also the safety of an accommodation, goes up”  Yovanidis underlined.

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2 comments

  1. I think most tourists think that the sea around Greece is quite benign but some of the beaches on Crete are prone to forming rip currents which can sweep you out to sea very rapidly. This is especially true of long straight beaches.

    Onshore winds drive breaking waves towards the beach where water starts to pile up. Somehow that water has to find its way back out into the wider sea but the breakers act as a barrier. If there is a slight dip in the sand at some point along the beach the excess water will flow parallel to the beach and then out to sea in the dip. Because a large stretch of water is flowing out in a narrow channel it must flow much faster, hence the rip. Once formed at all it is self enforcing as the rapid flow will erode the sand in the dip forming a deeper narrower channel. It does not need to be a very rough sea for this to happen and it can occur whenever there are breakers of almost any size.

  2. Floating armbands should be banned as all’s they do is make it easier to find the drowned child, they do not keep the child safe in the water.