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

Learn how to be safe in and around water.

July 20, 2021
Parks & Recreation Release

National Drowning Prevention Week runs July 18 to 24, 2021 but knowing how to be safe in and around water is important year-round. Learn tips and suggestions provided by our aquatics staff and stay safe this summer when you're swimming at outdoor pools, beaches, lakes or backyard pools. 

Learn how to be safe in and around water 

Did you know 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

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. Adults and caregivers should always be within arms reach when in or near water- in the backyard, at the beach, and in the bathroom. Never turn your back! 

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: 

  • check weather and water conditions before heading out 
  • always swim in supervised areas 
  • don’t swim alone 
  • be aware of risks when swimming in open water: currents, tides, change of depth, temperature, waves 
  • always supervise children under the age of 7 years. Stay within arms reach. 
  • 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.