• barrhavenward3

July 20th - National Drowning Prevention Week in Canada’s Capital Region

Message from The Lifesaving Society:

The Lifesaving Society, Canada’s leading organization responsible for drowning prevention, designates the third week in July as National Drowning Prevention Week (NDPW) to focus community and media attention on the drowning problem and drowning prevention.

To mark this occasion, the Lifesaving Society flag will fly at Ottawa City Hall and Gatineau City Hall from July 19 to 25 2020. Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson has launched the City of Ottawa’s NDPW activities with a mayoral proclamation.

The Ottawa Drowning Prevention Coalition will hold drowning prevention awareness activities and promote safe water practices this week and throughout the summer season.

Know the Facts

Over 400 people die by drowning annually in Canada, making it the second leading cause of unintentional death for children and the third leading cause of unintentional death for adults, with Indigenous, northern and new Canadians having a disproportionate mortality burden. Drowning is preventable. Even one drowning incident is one too many.

Statistics show that almost 70% of those who fatally drown never intend to go into the water and are often within 15 metres of safety. Nearly every Canadian knows someone who has died by drowning or has had a non-fatal drowning experience, whether personally or from their communities.


“I am particularly concerned this year that there could be a spike in drownings given the increase in backyard pool sales and restrictions in lifeguard supervised swimming pools. I encourage all Canadians to be vigilant with young children and to swim in lifeguard supervised swimming areas if possible,” said Barbara Byers, Public Education Director with the Lifesaving Society.

“Drowning can happen in an instant. Everyone is at risk of drowning, even strong swimmers. Know your limits and use layers of protection to stay safe in and around the water,” said Sean Duffy, Area Chair with the Lifesaving Society.

Key Messages to Emphasize:

These selected key messages are from the major risk factors presented in the 2020 Canadian and Ontario Drowning Reports.

  • Always directly supervise children around the water. If you are not within arms’ reach you’ve gone too far.

  • Every person should always wear a lifejacket or PFD when in a boat, regardless of age or swimming ability.

  • Learn to Swim to Survive. In most drownings, the victim never intended to go in the water and was often close to safety – could you survive a sudden and unexpected fall into the water?

  • Swim with a buddy. Swim near a lifeguard. Make smart choices before going into or out on the water.

  • Know your limits. Alcohol consumption is a factor in almost 40% of boating-related fatalities. Both alcohol and cannabis use impairs judgment, reflexes and balance. Stay sober when in, on or around the water.

  • Be Water Smart all year round. You can save a life, yours and someone else’s. Take a learn-to-swim, lifesaving or first aid class today.

The majority of drownings are preventable in a Water Smart community. Join the City of Ottawa, Ville de Gatineau and our Coalition partners in sharing these messages in order keep our residents safe in and around the water.

NDPW Resources

The Lifesaving Society has a variety of NDPW resources on its website – – to assist in focusing attention on drowning and drowning prevention messages.

Social Media

The Lifesaving Society and the Ottawa Drowning Prevention Coalition will be active on social media throughout NDPW and people are encouraged to interact with them on social media platforms and to use the key messages on your own social media. Be sure to include the #NDPW2020 and #SNPN2020 hashtags.

Facebook Page: Lifesaving Society Ontario; Ottawa Drowning Prevention Coalition

Twitter: @LifesavingON; @NoDrowningOtt

Instagram: @LifesavingSocietyON; @OttLifesaving

Safer Swimming Options for the family? *

• City of Ottawa: 12 indoor pools, 9 outdoor pools, 3 swimming beaches, 53 supervised wading pools, and 127 splash/spray pads. To reserve your swim time or register for swimming lessons, please visit:

• National Capital Commission: 7 swimming beaches. For lifeguard hours and water quality, visit

• Ville de Gatineau: 3 indoor pools, 8 outdoor pools, 3 swimming beaches, 5 wading pools, and 38 splash/spray pads. For more information, visit

About the Ottawa Drowning Prevention Coalition

The mission of the Ottawa Drowning Prevention Coalition is to prevent the incidence of fatal and non-fatal drownings and other water-related injuries in the National Capital Region. The Coalition brings together partners from Lifesaving Society, Canadian Red Cross, City of Ottawa (Recreation, Police, Fire, Paramedics, Bylaw, Building Code, and Ottawa Public Health), Ville de Gatineau (Services des Loisirs, de Police, de Sécurité Incendie), National Capital Commission, CHEO, Ottawa Hospital, Ontario Provincial Police, Dovercourt Recreation Association, Accora Village, Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa and H2O. The Coalition saves lives through community collaboration. For more information, please visit:



About the Lifesaving Society

The Lifesaving Society is a full-service provider of programs, products and services designed to prevent drowning. The Society saves lives and prevents water-related injury through training programs, Water Smart® public education, drowning prevention research, aquatic safety management and lifesaving sport. Each year, more than 1,000,000 Canadians participate in the Society’s swimming, lifesaving, lifeguarding and leadership programs. For more information, please visit


©2019 by Jan Harder.