Summer and the good weather enjoyed by Finnish residents in June also have their dark sides. The better the weather, the more people on the beaches and bathing places, and also more people drowned. June 2021 was the one with the most deaths in the water since 1999.
According to preliminary data collected by the Finnish Swimming Teaching and Lifesaving Federation (SUH, in its Finnish acronym), 30 people drowned in Finland in June.
This amount averages one drowning death per day.
Less than half of those deaths (14) occurred while swimming. Of the 16 remaining drownings, 4 occurred during water transport and another 12 in circumstances in which the course of the events is not clear, explains the organization.
The Swimming Teaching Federation highlights in a statement that June was a month of exceptionally high temperatures in most regions of the country, according to data from the Finnish Meteorological Institute.
"The unfortunate downside of their warm summer is the abundance of drowning accidents," says the organization.
SUH notes that 13 of this year's drownings occurred during Juhannus (Midsummer) weekend. To find a greater number of drowned in Midsummer we must go back to 2000, the year in which there were 16 deaths in the water.
"This is extremely sad because drownings are for the most part preventable. Water safety is largely a matter of attitude, and this requires change in Finland," says SUH expert Niko Nieminen.
According to SUH, the last time the June data was bleaker was in 1999, when 45 people drowned.
During January-June 2021, a total of 68 people drowned in Finland.
Typical causes of drowning
SUH explains in the statement that 100-150 people drown in Finland every year and that, according to statistics, around half of those who die by drowning are under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident.
Typical causes of drowning are falls from boats, boat capsizes and people's misjudgment of their own ability to swim.
Most drownings happen in familiar waters, close to shore.