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Prevention of open water drowning while boating
  1. Brian D Johnston
  1. Correspondence to Dr Brian D Johnston, Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington, Harborview Medical Center, 325 Ninth Ave—Box 359774, Seattle, WA 98104, USA; ipeditor{at}bmjgroup.com

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August is high summer here in Seattle and the days are typically glorious. Visitors who have succumbed to the misperception that our skies are chronically grey and wet are astonished at the natural beauty of this region when the sun appears. Green forests frame our waterways with snowcapped mountains in the background. Unsurprisingly, absolutely everybody heads out doors to enjoy it while we can.

The sad corollary of this activity on and around the water is a predictable increase in the number of drowning cases each summer. In high-income countries drowning is typically associated with occupational or recreational exposure. In our state, that recreation tends to happen on open water, while people enjoy boating on our rivers, lakes and coastal waters.1 Drowning prevention in these contexts requires a specific set of behaviours and interventions, often quite distinct from the strategies employed to combat drowning in low or middle income countries, in swimming pools or in bathing facilities. A trio of papers in this issue, along with a forthcoming study in press, …

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