Featured Image Credit: Egill Bjarnason
By Natalie Helbling
Iceland is an island located in the North Atlantic Ocean. Being surrounded by water means that the Icelandic people know how to navigate the waters and spend a lot of time on the great blue. Majority of their work is related to sailing or being on or near the water. With the location of the country being so far north, the water temperatures are often unreasonably cold. There is a saying that for every degree Celsius the temperature of water is, that’s how long one can be immersed before becoming hypothermic.
After the Icelandic people experienced reoccurring incidents of sailors drowning, the government decided to make efforts to decrease this problem.
Pools quickly sprouted up all around the country as swimming lessons were required by the government. Swimming became one of the most popular activities regardless of the cooler temperatures the country experiences. After requiring swim lessons for many years, there was still no significant decrease of deaths related to drowning.
It wasn’t until the country introduced better technology, and required more in depth safety trainings for the sailors that death rates decreased. There are not only better boats, but there are better weather forecasts and even rescue helicopters ready to take action if an accident does occur.
It was estimated that nearly 50 men would perish each year before these advancements took place, now the numbers have decreased to about 2. Although swimming is not the main reason that deaths have been limited, it has been a big role in increasing overall safety.
Not many people would think that swimming would be such an important activity to those that far north, but Icelanders have proved us wrong. To read more in depth about the impact swimming pools has on the country and to further your knowledge on this topic check out another article here.