Drowning deaths are preventable. Please take these simple and sensible steps to help make your summer waterplay, in pools, rivers and lakes, fun and tragedy-free.
1. Swim in supervised areas
- The shore and riverbed along the Ottawa and Rideau rivers are beautiful but dangerous. If you are walking near the shoreline on public areas, do not wander into the water and ensure children are supervised.
- At City beaches, make sure you stay in the designated swim area and swim between noon and 7 pm when lifeguards are on duty. Britannia Beach is closed to public swimming in 2020 for planned riverbed restoration work.
- Some outdoor and indoor swimming pools are gradually opening for public swimming by appointment. A list of all pools that will be reopening can be found here. Information regarding the swim times and how to book is now available online by clicking here.
2. Know where you are
What looks like shallow water could drop off suddenly into deep water that flows over your head. River currents can change rapidly and catch you by surprise. City beaches are inspected before they open to ensure they are safe and clear of logs, rocks and other debris that can harm swimmers.
3. Play now, drink later
If you’re going swimming or boating, keep a clear head and wait until your water play is done before you indulge in that beer or cooler. And never, ever, operate a boat when under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
4. Take a class
The City of Ottawa offers a variety of courses and programs for all ages to help people stay safe in and around water. The swimming lesson guide will be posted online at ottawa.ca. Registration begins Monday, July 13 at 9 pm.
5. Keep children close
Parents and caregivers are reminded to keep children, especially toddlers, within arm’s reach when in or close to water.
6. Wear a lifejacket or a personal floatation device
Children who cannot easily and confidently swim should never go near water without a lifejacket or personal floatation device. Lifejackets only work when they are being worn.
7. Watch kids and close gates
- Be vigilant as drowning occurs most commonly in private swimming pools, often during a lapse of adult supervision. Make sure children are properly supervised with a designated water watcher. Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
- Make sure you have a properly fenced pool and property, and a self-latching gate that you keep locked when not in use.
- Empty portable pools between uses.
- Understand and comply with the City’s by-law for Pool enclosures.