Some people don’t like swimming within the buoy-line

Let me redact the location reference in this quote from The Economist:

You have to stay inside the dinky little waist-deep swimming areas, with their bobbing lines of white buoys. There you are, under a deep blue …. summer sky, the lake laid out like a mirror in front of you and the rocks on the far shore gleaming under a bristling comb of red pine; you plunge in, strike out across the water, and tweet! A parks official blows his whistle and shouts after you. “Sir! Sir! Get back inside the swimming area!” What is this, summer camp? Henry David Thoreau never had to put up with this. It offends the dignity of man and nature. You want to shout, with Andy Samberg: “I’m an adult!”

I feel the same way. Well, I don’t really know if I’m a Thoreau fan, but the rest; yes.  I just want some open water to actually swim in.

Oh, the location is any Massachusetts state park.

The reason for the restriction appears well-intentioned, I must admit. And it might be.  Reducing drowning deaths is hard to argue against.  However, at least part of the reason is financial- to reduce liability costs.  This is also good, but bean-counting our way to a nanny state doesn’t appeal to me.

The park officials in Massachusetts aren’t really trying to minimise the risk that you might drown. They’re trying to minimise the risk that you might sue. The problem here, as Mr Howard says, isn’t simply over-regulation as such. It’s a culture of litigiousness and a refusal to accept personal responsibility. When some of the public behave like children, we all get a nanny state.

Yeah, nobody wanted the Aqua Assault RoboFighters to be recalled.

The Economist article contains many links, including one to a TED Talk on fixing the legal system.

Before looking -very superficially- at Korea, let me check out drowning deaths in Canada.

At least 237 people have drowned this year in Canada. That’s an increase of nine per cent from the same time last year, according to the Lifesaving Society, a group committed to water safety.

Many of the deaths have occurred in Ontario….

She [Lifesaving Society spokesperson Barbara Byers] said parents need to keep a close watch on their young children around pools.

“If you’re not within arms reach, you have gone too far,” said Byers. “And you have to have your eyes absolutely locked on the child. I think some people think they will have lots of time (to react).”

Rivers and beaches have also been the sites of several deaths this year….

The Ontario Coroner’s Office says it will look at all the drowning deaths between May and the end of August, to see if any recommendations can be made to make the province’s pools, rivers and lakes safer for swimming.

Quick public service announcement:  Drowning doesn’t look like drowning!

Briefly, drowning people don’t and can’t  call for help, nor can they wave for help.  They are too focused on getting their mouth high enough to breathe.  They can’t get their arms out of the water to wave them.

The warning comes from Dr. Frank Pia, who has been in the biz for a long time.  I learned how to do the Pia carry twenty-five years ago.

Next Public Service Announcement: Be leery of the advice coming from Busan eFM!

I like eFM.  I want Busan’s English radio station to do well.  However, a month ago, I listened in horror to one of their PSAs.  One bit of advice for beachgoers was, “If you go into deep water, bring a tube or inflatable to protect yourself.”

No, no, no!  If you can’t swim, don’t go into deep water! Fer Cryin’ Out Loud!  If your child can’t swim, don’t let him/her go into the water at all unless you are nearby!

Okay, back to Canada:

…a study released Thursday suggests immigrants are four times more likely to be unable to swim than native-born Canadians.

The study, conducted by the Lifesaving Society, found that about one in five newcomers don’t know how to swim, compared to one in 20 people born in Canada. The research is being billed as the first in Canada to examine the links between ethnicity and the ability to swim. …

Drowning is the second leading cause of preventable death in Canada for children under the age of 10. …

The report’s release comes amid a spate of drowning deaths across the country, including 10 in a recent 10-day period in Ontario from the end of June to the beginning of July. …

Byers said that during heat waves, people are often more inclined to go to swimming pools to cool off. In a normal year, about one of every 10 drowning deaths happens in a pool. This year, 28 per cent of deaths have occurred at pools, including five of the 10 in Ontario.

It is hard to discuss Korean drowning rates.  I can only imagine they must be high because of the great restrictions imposed on those who want to swim here.  I do recall in Sokcho a few years ago, a school group on a class trip went to Sokcho beach and returned to their dorm rooms, there to discover they were one short.  Again, better observation of the young should be common sense.

Pools in Korea typically have a ‘rest period’ of ten minutes per hour.  This allows the guards to be sure the pool is clear and the patrons to regain their strength so they are safer.  And too bad to the patron who is on a tight schedule and ends up losing ten minutes of their swimming time.

The water level at the beautiful pool at Sajik Sports Complex is deliberately  kept at 60%.*  The depth should be around two metres, but instead is 1.3 metres.  This is a great depth for standing but it feels weird to be in a pit, with walls rising high above you.  It would be hard to drown, though.

Okay, it is difficult to search for Korean drowning deaths but I did learn that North Korea is not waving, it is drowning.

In 2006, seventy-six teenagers drowned.


*I don’t know what that means for the filter system.  The water looks clear and clean, but normally most contaminants are on the water surface and the skimmers, in this case, are a metre above the surface.

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