NORFOLK - According to Naval Safety Center data, 16 Sailors and 11 Marines have died in off-duty drownings in the last five years.
One Sailor and two Marines were seriously injured in off-duty water-related incidents as well.
"From 2005-2014, there were an average of 3,536 fatal unintentional drownings (non-boating related) annually in the United States - about 10 deaths per day," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. "An additional 332 people died each year from drowning in boating-related incidents."
The CDC contributes the following factors to unintentional drowning: lack of swimming ability and supervision, lack of barriers and location, failure to wear a life jacket, seizures, and alcohol.
According to Naval Safety Center data, most of the Sailors and Marines who died in off-duty drownings did so while swimming, kayaking, boating or fishing.
Those who are not strong swimmers should consider taking swimming lessons to reduce the risk of drowning. Lessons are available for both adults and children and learning how to swim can greatly reduce risks.
Everyone should pay attention to their surroundings and water conditions, and make sure to watch children at all times, whether at the beach or swimming pool. Also, swimming at pools and beaches where life guards are on duty provides less of a risk than swimming alone.
"About one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger," according to the CDC. "For every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries."
Personnel should also take precautions at home when it comes to pool safety. Placing a barrier fence around the pool and getting a pool alarm help mitigate risks. A fence can help prevent small children from falling into the pool, and an alarm sounds an alert when the pool water is in motion. Both safety features aid in reducing drowning accidents.
If anyone is at risk of seizures, the CDC recommends supervision whether at the beach or a pool, wearing a life jacket while boating, and taking a shower instead of a bath to prevent accidental drowning in the event of a seizure.
"Potentially, half of all boating deaths might be prevented with the use of life jackets," according to the CDC.
Alcohol should not be consumed before or while swimming. If supervising children at the beach or pool, no one should consume alcohol at all, as it slows reflexes and interferes with judgment.
"Among adolescents and adults, alcohol use is involved in up to 70 percent of deaths associated with water recreation, almost a quarter of emergency room visits for drowning, and about one in five reported boating deaths," according to the CDC website. "Alcohol influences balance, coordination, and judgment, and its effects are heightened by sun exposure and heat."
For more information about water safety and the Critical Days of Summer, visit the Naval Safety Center at http://www.public.navy.mil/NAVSAFECEN.