BC Coroners Service is currently investigating a death at Canoe Cove Marina and Boatyard in North Saanich. (Black Press Media File)

BC Coroners Service is currently investigating a death at Canoe Cove Marina and Boatyard in North Saanich. (Black Press Media File)

Drowning death in North Saanich likely B.C.’s first in for 2021

Investigation into suspected drowning Monday night continues

The suspected drowning death of a 64-year-old North Saanich resident Monday could be the first drowning death in British Columbia in 2021.

Dale Miller, executive director of the Lifesaving Society of BC and the Yukon, said preliminary numbers show 42 drownings in British Columbia in 2020, and none yet this year, other than the Saanich incident.

Drowning statistics kept by the society include only preventable (unintentional) deaths, and do not account for deaths due to natural causes, suicide, or homicide.

Police say the man who died at Canoe Cove Marina and Boatyard Monday night likely drowned. Police received a call at around 10:30 p.m. about the man being unable to pull himself out after he had fallen into the water. Paramedics made attempts to revive the man but he died at the marina.

Neither police nor the investigating coroner will release the identity of the 64-year-old man. The marina has yet to provide comment, but the incident is not on the radar of WorkSafeBC.

“I can confirm that WorkSafeBC was not involved with this incident,” said Ivy Yuen, a spokesperson.

Regional figures from the Lifesaving Society of BC and the Yukon show four individuals drowned in and around Vancouver Island in 2020. The last within the 2020 calendar year was the death of 80-year-old Hesquiaht elder Harry Lucas, whose remains were found near Tofino on Jan. 2. He had reportedly left Ahousaht by boat alone around 3 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 31 and was on his way to Hot Springs Cove.

RELATED: Missing First Nations elder found dead near Tofino

RELATED: Body of third missing man found in Sooke River

In another incident, Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and Anthony (A.J.) Jensen of Sooke, all 20 years old, were last seen alive around 11 p.m. Friday, on Jan. 31. Crews recovered their bodies days later following a rapid rise in the level of Sooke River following heavy rainfall.

RELATED: UPDATED: Man, 64, likely drowned after falling into water at North Saanich marina, say police

According to available statistics from the Office of the Chief Coroner, health authorities recorded 666 drowning deaths between 2008 and 2016.

According to that agency, fatal drownings were most common in the summer months, peaking at an average of 13.6 deaths per year, with men accounting for 79.6 per cent. Individuals aged 19 to 29 accounted for the largest share of fatalities at almost 24 per cent of all fatalities, followed by individuals aged 50 to 59 years with 17 per cent.

Alcohol and / or drugs contributed to 40 per cent of drowning deaths between 2008 and 2015. Boating (21.8 per cent), swimming (16.8 per cent) and falls into water (16.5 per cent) were the three activities in which drownings were most likely to occur.

Miller said the trend line for accidental drowning deaths is downward.

“The 42 (deaths) in 2020 is the lowest ever (since the society starting keeping records for the last 30 years) and of course that is still 42 too many.”

Contrary to predictions, COVID-19 did not lead to more people swimming outdoors, thereby increasing the potential for drowning, he said.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.


Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Nanaimo man is offering a $300 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person who broke into his SUV and stole components from his drone. (News Bulletin file photo)
Drone owner offering reward after components stolen from his vehicle in Nanaimo

Vehicle break-in happened last month on Departure Bay Road

Regenerative farming that meets genuine needs should take priority over commercial recklessness, says columnist. (Stock photo)
Column: Hubris, greed causing humans to live destructively

Placing the economy as the top priority is licence to destroy natural systems, says columnist

Kyle Patrick McGuire was give a nine-month non-custodial sentencing to be followed by two years of probation on Wednesday, March 3, at the Nanaimo Law Courts. (PQB News file photo)
Bowser man sentenced to house arrest after guilty plea to child pornography offence

Nine-month non-custodial sentence to be followed by two years probation

A concept for development of the Green Thumb property in north Nanaimo. (Barefoot Planning and Design image)
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Develop land with care and thought

It’s getting to the point that you can’t go a block without seeing more apartments, says letter writer

Nanaimo Community Archives is looking for submissions from homeowners who took on exterior renovation projects, no matter how big or how small, for the first Heritage House Renovations Awards. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo archives holding first Heritage House Renovation Awards

Judges want photos and descriptions of exterior renovations that enhanced character of Nanaimo homes

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

A rendering of Front Street transportation improvements set to get underway as soon as next week. (McElhanney image/City of Nanaimo)
Work set to start on Front Street cycle track in downtown Nanaimo

Road work and street reconfiguration project scheduled to start in March, finish in May

The Regional District of Nanaimo’s board is forwarding a motion on illegal dumping to the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities’ upcoming annual general meeting. (Kane Blake photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo motion seeks to ask province for help to combat illegal dumping

RDN resolution to be forwarded to Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Most Read