Water Safety Tips

Water recreation is not only a lot of fun, it can also be a strenuous pastime, especially when you’re spending all day in the hot sun. Fatigue and heat illnesses can be dangerous when mixed with driving a boat or swimming. Make sure you bring plenty of water to stay hydrated, wear protective clothing and sunscreen, and don’t push yourself past your limit.

Backyard Pool Safety
  • Wear a life jacket, especially non-swimmers and children.
  • Closely supervise young children and non-swimmers near water. If you're not "within arms' reach" of them, you've gone too far.
  • Learn to swim. Take swimming lessons and the swim to survive challenge
  • Always swim with a buddy—whenever possible play and swim in areas supervised by a lifeguard.
  • Learn lifesaving skills. Take a lifesaving course like Bronze Medallion, Bronze Cross and National Lifeguard.
Lake and River Safety
  • Wear a life jacket, especially non-swimmers and children.
  • Being water competent in natural water requires additional knowledge and skills than in the pool. Use all the same precautions as a swimming pool and more.
  • Check the weather. Changes in temperature and wind can quickly increase swimming difficulty.
  • Know your environment. Fast-moving currents, waves and rapids can be dangerous even in shallow water. Drop offs, dams, underwater obstacles, rocks and debris can all present unexpected hazards.
  • Be aware of other people's activities in the same waters, such as boating.
  • Keep an eye out for hazards, like bridge abutments, and other floaters.
  • If floating down the river, do not tie your floats together. Floats can easily get wrapped around bridge abutments, docks, or debris in the water— floats can easily flip over in this situation or pins floaters against the hazard.
  • Avoid alcohol and apply sunscreen.
  • Most important—have a plan! Tell someone where you are going and when you will be back. If floating on the river, let that individual know you entrance point and planned exit point.
Boating Safety
  • Always, always, always wear a life jacket or personal flotation device.
  • Boat sober! According to the Lifesaving Society, alcohol was involved in 38% of all boating deaths in BC and roughly 40% of drowning fatalities in Canada are alcohol-related.
  • Get your boating license. Only those with a licence are legally allowed to drive the boat.
  • Have a plan. Make a boating safety kit and tell someone where you are going and when you will be back.

Follow the above basic safety precautions, and your water experience will be an outstanding summer memory. If you are experiencing water or marine distress, or if you witness a water or marine emergency call 911.

All of these recommendations come from the Lifesaving Society and the World Conference on Drowning Prevention. These suggestions are made based on statistical evidence and from the most common causes of water related fatalities in Canada.

Other Resources