This week is National Drowning Prevention Week. Drowning is fast and silent (and never looks like it does in the movies), but every drowning death is preventable with water safety knowledge. Approximately 500 Canadians die in preventable water-related incidents each year.

As many of you know, I spent my late teen years as a lifeguard at Ray Friel and Bob MacQuarrie. I still have a deep and enduring respect for our lifeguards and aquatic staff and it is important that we all remember to stay safe around water this summer. Our City of Ottawa lifeguards are second to none. They were recently recognized by the Royal Canadian Lifesaving Society for having the largest water safety program in Ontario!

With the endless number of outdoor activities that we all enjoy, it is important to remember that safety is always the priority.

Even one drowning is too many. Here are some tips for having a Water Safe summer:

  • Learn to swim.
  • Don’t swim alone – always swim with a friend or family member.
  • Swim at lifeguarded pools and beaches.
  • Children and non-swimmers should always be supervised around water.
  • If you’re not within arm’s reach, you have gone too far.
  • Lifejackets are like seatbelts – and they only work if you wear them. Wear a lifejacket whenever you are in a boat.
  • Alcohol and water don’t mix – don’t drink and swim, and don’t drink and drive your boat.

I really miss teaching water safety classes because I knew I was teaching skills that would last a lifetime. Have the water safety talk with your children, remain vigilant around pools, bodies of water and remember that its easy to become distracted by technology on an easy summer day by the pool.

Until next time, stay safe, have fun, and get out to enjoy this beautiful weather!

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