National Drowning Prevention Week begins today, coming on the heels of the drowning of three Ontarians last weekend.

Fifty-four people, including six children under the age of twelve, have drowned in Ontario so far this year. Public Education Director for the Lifesaving Society, Barbara Byers, tells 570 News, “I’ve heard stories where parents are in the pool with their toddlers and they turn their head the other way to have a conversation and that child might be within arms reach, but you don’t have your eyes on them and they can slip right under the water.”

One of several safety messages the Lifesaving Society is putting out is the necessity of lifejackets for boaters of any age or swimming skill level. Nearly every year, 80% of boaters who drown are found not wearing a lifejacket.

President of the Ontario Safety League, Brian Patterson, tells 570 the truth about drowning, casting light on the movie-styled arm-flailing version: “Screaming, yelling, thrashing and excitement that will draw your attention is a myth. It’s quick, it’s often silent and it’s most often deadly.”

Overall there has been two more drowning cases this year in Ontario than in 2011, although there have been fewer drownings among boaters (10 versus 15 for the same date in 2011).

National Drowning Prevention Week ends on July 29th.

For a list of drowning prevention tips and more information, visit www.lifesavingsociety.com.