Mervin Dueck, Father Whose Son Drowned Says Seaweed Is A Hazard For Swimmers

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WINNIPEG — A Manitoba father whose teenage son drowned two years ago says seaweed looks harmless under water, but it should be labelled as a danger for swimmers.

Mervin Dueck says his 19-year-old son, Calvin, was swimming with friends at St. Malo beach but died after becoming tangled up in seaweed.

Dueck says his son's death was ruled a drowning but there was no mention of seaweed as a contributing cause.

He says there should be a change in the way drownings are reported to highlight seaweed as a hazard in relevant cases.

Hard to know if seaweed is cause of drowning: Lifesaving society

The office of Manitoba's chief medical examiner says it won't include contributing factors of a death unless the evidence is crystal clear.

Chris Love of the Manitoba Lifesaving Society says sometimes it's hard to know when seaweed is the reason behind a drowning, as a body may have floated into seaweed by the time it's found.

"So we can't make a determination about that in most cases,'' says Love.

Dueck also wants mandatory education about the dangers of seaweed included in swim lessons.

He says while his son was a strong swimmer, he was not familiar with what can lurk below in a lake.

Love says the lifesaving society agrees there should be more awareness among swimmers about the dangers of seaweed. The society recommends that when swimmers encounter seaweed, they should go slow, relax, lay back, float to catch their breath and slowly untangle themselves.

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