Groups offer water safety tips

TORONTO – During  National Drowning Prevention Week (July 21 to 27), Allstate Canada is helping Canadians prepare to safely spend time near the water this summer.

According to the Lifesaving Society Canada Drowning Report, there were 146  drowning-related deaths in Ontario in 2016, 65 per cent of which occurred in natural bodies of water.

Allstate Canada has worked with the Lifesaving Society Canada on a list of top tips for keeping safe while enjoying the water.

Clearly assign a responsible supervisor. Know who is in charge at all times and ensure the supervisor has strong water safety knowledge. Consider taking turns to keep a watchful eye if by the water for a longer period. Identify the current on duty supervisor by having them wear a special hat, for example.

Swim in a supervised area. As natural bodies of water have the highest rate of water accidents, it is important to choose areas supervised by a lifeguard, whenever possible. If heading to the beach this summer, look for options that have lifeguards on duty.

Avoid distractions when on duty. Designated supervisors should make a point of putting cell phones down and save reading books or magazines for later, and reassign cooking and food duties to others in order to concentrate on the task at hand. Stay close to be able to react quickly, if needed.

Keep water inaccessible when not in use. Follow safety guidelines and fence in pools. Limit and control access to other bodies of water like lakes, rivers, and even wading pools.

Wear a floatation device. Everyone should wear a personal flotation device while boating. Inexperienced swimmers should also wear them in pools or other bodies of water.

Swim with a buddy. There is safety in numbers. Make sure swimmers of all ages and skill levels always have a buddy with them, whether in a pool or a lake.

Learn to swim. There’s power in knowledge. By enrolling children in swimming lessons early on, they will gain confidence and have a better understanding of the dangers and risks associated with water. And remember, it’s never too late to learn to swim; there are swim classes for all ages.