A man sits in a lifeguard station with trees on either side

See tips and suggestions to stay safe this summer when you're swimming at outdoor pools, beaches, lakes or backyard pools.

August 22, 2022
Parks & Recreation

Learn how to be safe in and around water 

67% of drownings occur in the summer. Knowing how to stay safe in the water can save your life. Follow these steps to prevent drowning:

  • take swimming lessons 
  • do not take risks - open water conditions can change quickly 
  • be aware of your surroundings. Currents, sudden drop-offs, and waves can be deadly
  • wear a Canadian-approved life jacket on boats and in uncontrolled environments, such as lakes and oceans
  • actively supervise children around water. If you are not within arms reach, you have gone too far
  • learn first aid and CPR and know how to respond in an emergency

Watch your children in the water

Always supervise young children and beginning swimmers closely. Keep them within arms reach!

Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury deaths among Canadian children under 10 years of age. Active supervision is key to prevent children from drowning. Actively supervising means not being distracted by electronic devices, doorbells or other people. 

If you need to leave the vicinity for any reason, assign another responsible adult to monitor the children or take them with you. 

Be boat smart. Wear a life jacket

It’s boating season! The highest number of drownings occur on a lake while boating. Wear a life jacket while boating and anyone who cannot swim—especially young children—should wear a life jacket while swimming. Life jackets don’t work unless you wear them!  

For boating safety: 

  • wear a life jacket
  • do not boat alone
  • stay seated
  • check the weather
  • check condition of boat
  • make sure you have a whistle, flashlight, bailer, buoyant heaving line, extra paddle
  • do not drink and drive your boat

Be alert on open waters 

Did you know the highest risk groups to drown are children under 5 years and men between 18 to 49? Don’t let a great day at the beach or lake go horribly wrong. Stay safe in open water with these tips: 

  • always swim with a buddy. Never swim alone.
  • check weather and water conditions before heading out.
  • be aware of risks when swimming in open water: currents, tides, change of depth, temperature, waves.
  • always swim in supervised, designated areas. never swim or recreate in or near boating channels.
  • know how far you’ve swam. It is easy to underestimate distances in open water. Be sure you have energy to return safely.
  • never swim at night. Visibility is lost and reduces your ability to see hazards. This also restricts others from seeing you in the event you need help.
  • always supervise children under the age of 7 years. Stay within arms reach.
  • know your limits. Swimming outdoors in open water presents challenges not found in a pool environment. Stay close to shore and stay safe.
  • wear a life jacket. Life jackets don’t work unless you wear them.

Know backyard pool safety

Backyard pools can be fun but dangerous if precautions aren’t taken.   

  • make sure your pool is fenced with a self-closing and latching gate. 
  • establish clear rules for everyone using your backyard pool. 
  • ensure that children know they should ask permission before entering the water. 
  • properly supervise swimmers with out any distractions. 
  • appoint a responsible adult to supervise or remove the children from the pool if you must leave the area, even for a minute. 
  • pool toys are attractive to children. Put away all toys and equipment when finished.