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Mar 15, 2018

What to know before going to the water

Easter is quickly approaching and following the tragic drowning of a teen at a pool party last week it is a good time to discuss water safety. Tonight in Healthy Living, we visit the Y.W.C.A. and spoke to two senior lifeguards about water safety and hazards.


Marleni Cuellar reporting

Belize is blessed with beautiful coastline and multiple rivers and we enjoy them on holidays and extended weekends. While the sea, rivers and even pools can be fun; they can also be deadly. There are some basic water safety tips parents should consider.


Joevannie Collins, Pool Coordinator, YWCA

Joevannie Collins

“Never go alone it is very critical that you have somebody at your side if an emergency may happen. Being that you are going to have children around there should always be adult supervision. For instance if a child is swimming with an object, more than likely that object will float away and what if that object floats over to the deeper end and there s no supervision. The child will obviously go for that object. So it is very, very critical that adults are around whenever kids are in the water.”


Joevannie Collins is a senior lifeguard with 14 years experience. She’s also is the pool coordinator at the YWCA. Some of common pool safety tips are clearly displayed and fairly obvious rules for safety. The “no jumping” rule applies to both pools and open water.


Joevannie Collins

“We always advise people to enter feet first into any water that is unknown to you. Reason being that some visuals may seem close. You may be seeing oh I can see the bottom just as we are standing here we can see the bottom but in actuality that water depth might be over 20 feet and you may under estimate yourself. The bed of the rivers may sometime accumulate rocks and logs that are submerged and if you are not careful enough, you might cause yourself a very bad collision and end up unconscious and that is how accidents happen. So we advise everybody in any water you are not familiar with put your foot in first.”


One of the greatest hazards in open water is the currents in both the river and the sea.


Joevannie Collins

“We have surface current and depth current and in Belize we cannot distinguish them just by looking at it. So if ant any instance you are swimming having a nice day in the river and the weather changes, the current actually changes with weather and the wind and all of that natural stuff. Normally it is the depth current that will pull you away. You have the surface current that may be strong enough to sweep you away as well. If you find yourself in an instance where you feel that you cannot maneuver yourself from out of the situation, maneuver yourself, turn yourself on your back at all times. So if you are caught in a current the first thing you have to bear in mind is to roll over on your back. Normally currents run and they run downstream so you will be finding yourself moving away from where you are and you have to maintain yourself on the back. The current will come to a stop. I urge you , if you are caught in a current, do not panic, panic leads to other complications. Remain calm, stay on your back and maintain yourself to just laying low and making sure if you get a break to grab on to a branch or something do so ort if not just allow the river to take you.”


Do not attempt to swim against the current. Let it take you feet first downstream. For those who are supervising, watch for anything that seems unusual. Not all emergencies are obvious as senior lifeguard Andre Godoy explains.


Andre Godoy

Andre Godoy, Pool Manager, Senior Lifeguard

“You have three types of drowning, you have active drowning, you have submerged, you have passive. With the active drowning victim you usually see the arms in an up and down motion, moving up and down to try to keep the head out of the water. If you see the body is vertical in the water and then the submerge victim is a victim normally under the water whereby someone jump in the pool, hit the victim and went under the water. Then you have the passive drowning victim again, the victim maybe the victim run and slipped and when he slipped  he dropped at the edge of the pool and went into the pool so he float up in a vertical position. I look for the movement for the active again how the hand moves, I have some victim that can swim but maybe catch a cramp and they are still in a slow motion so they are still a victim.”


Marleni Cuellar

“If you see somebody who seems to be drowning what do we do, what is the basic assist?”


Andre Godoy

“The basic assist is a reaching assist whereby you have an object and reach out to save the person, whereby you don’t stand up you want to go on your knee or your stomach and you get them with an object.”

Marleni Cuellar

“Why can’t you jump in and save them?”


Andre Godoy

“Because the person is an active and if you go face first with the person they can grab and hold unto it.”


The YWCA offers free swimming classes for children and water safety presentations upon request. You can also train to become a certified lifeguard or choose to hire one through the YWCA.

Joevannie Collins

“They are paid persons who are willing to be at your service if you need them. Us here at the YWWA we rent out our lifeguards and it is at a small fee it is not anything that will break your pockets. But at the same time, we come with the equipment and we come with our knowledge that you will be needing if an emergency may occur.”


You can get more tips from the Y.W.C.A. at their main office during open house this Saturday or on world water day on the twenty-second.


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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