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Stemming The Tide Of Death

Pic and text courtesy: Gulf News
Some alarming facts
The dos and donts

Picture the scene. Under clear blue skies the sea sparkles in the sunshine. At the water's edge children are playing. Laughter fills the air. There is a smell of barbecued meat. In the water people are cooling off, enjoying their weekend. Within seconds happiness turns into tragedy.

Tears replace Joy. Someone has drowned. It is a scene, which is played out with alarming frequency in the UAE. Last weekend, in the Northern Emirates, two people drowned - one died saving his friend, the other was a young child whose life was cut short prematurely.

Gulf News, May 27, 2000.
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The UAE has 700 kilometres of coastline, including 100 kilometres on the Gulf of Oman. It boasts some of the best beaches in the region. But the soft white sand and gently slopping beaches, however, often hide a deadly danger.

A few Alarming Facts

  • Drowning is the second highest cause of accidental death in the UAE after road traffic accidents.
  • Drownings claim about 100 lives each year in the UAE.
  • Summer is traditionally the peak time for drowning accidents.
  • Most of the drowning accidents are associated with swimming in the sea, especially at weekends and public holidays.
  • Last year, in Dubai alone the police dealt with 251 accidents an average of five per week.
  • In the current year, 14 people have already died as a result of drowning.
  • Forty per cent of drownings happen because swimmers ignore a life guard's instructions.
  • Most drownings taking place in Dubai occur in the sea near the Jumairah beach.
  • One in 10 of Dubai's drowning incidents were reported at the Beach Park.
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There is a popular saying in the UAE that reads "Those who do not fear the sea are not men." It is very true that most of the drowning accidents could have been avoided if a little extra care had been taken by the victims. Check out these Dos and Donts to avoid getting drowned while swimming in the sea.

The Dos And Donts
  • Don't go swimming without taking enough precautions to ensure your personal safety and the safety of your children.
  • Don't go to the sea without knowing how to swim. We think we will learn swimming by practicing it in the sea. That is a blunder.
  • If you ignore a life guard's instructions, you are inviting danger.
  • Always assess the condition of the sea and ensure your safety.
  • Never swim alone especially if you have no experience of sea swimming.
  • When you buy the safety equipment always go for the highest quality.
  • Low tide, which takes place twice a day, is a particularly dangerous time and amateur swimmers should avoid going into the sea during them.
  • Check the timings of both the low and high tides, which are published in local newspapers.
  • Don't go swimming when a red flag is hoisted on the beach. It is an international sign that swimming is not permitted.
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