Thursday, July 28, 2011

Staying Safe In and On the Water

The Civic long weekend is just around the corner in Canada and that means friends, family and fun! Everyone loves to partake in a variety of events and activities, which may include having fun in the water, especially since swimming and boating are great ways to beat the heat, that’s for sure. Canada is a country that is defined by water, and water requires the ultimate respect. Playing in and around water can appear to be harmless, however, it is imperative to make sure water safety is a top priority for adults and children alike. Being around water and learning to swim is second nature to many Canadians and is part of the Canadian way of life. But as the make-up of Canada continues to evolve and change, there is segment of the population of New Canadians who arrive later in life, and therefore may not be as familiar with the water and the necessity for crucial safety precautions when around it. As published in the Globe and Mail just a few days ago, a study commissioned by the Lifesaving Society found that 31% of New Canadians, especially those who have been living in Canada for less than five years, are at a higher risk of having a water-related accident when swimming or boating. Having said that, the report also reports that Canadian children under the age of five (who are fearless yet lack skill), and adult men between 18 and 49 (higher risk-takers) are at the highest risk of having a water-related mishap.

Knowing how to play safe in and around the water is not only an essential skill to have, it will contribute to safe and positive experiences in our lakes, rivers and pools. A few tips to guarantee water safety for children and adults include:

• Know how to swim
• Buddy up
• Know your limits
• Swim in safe areas only
• Do not dive into unknown areas
• Do not consume alcohol and swim

If boating is on the agenda, along with the tips above, make sure to:

• Know the weather forecast
• Wear a personal floatation device
• Know the rules of the water

For more information on water safety, please visit SIRC.

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