07/06/2013 21:03 EDT | Updated 09/05/2013 05:12 EDT

Beware of B.C. waters, coroner warns

The BC Coroners Service is asking people to be extra cautious after four deaths in the last five days during water-related accidents.

Barb McLintock, spokeswoman for the Coroners Service, says many victims are unfamiliar with the conditions around the province's lakes, rivers, pools and seashores. As a result, she says, people underestimate the risks.

"So if you're used to a nice shallow lake, say from Manitoba or Ontario, and you go into one that looks the same from the edge in B.C., and suddenly find yourself in cold deep water after a drop off," she said.

"That's the sort of circumstance where things can get quite risky."

McLintock is also reminding people about the dangers of mixing alcohol with water-related activities.

She says 40 per cent of people who drown are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

"It's time to put out a warning that if they are going to go out and have a wonderful time, to take some extra care," she said.