Red Cross urges Canadians to take water safety seriously this summer

Topics: National, Water Safety
May 15, 2012


(Ottawa) – As Canadians from Coast to Coast prepare to open their backyard swimming pools and cottages this holiday weekend, the Canadian Red Cross is urging Canadians to be safe around the water. Every year, approximately 400 Canadians die of drowning; of the 160 people who drown while boating, nearly 90 per cent are not properly wearing a lifejacket.

“Every summer, far too many Canadians die from preventable incidents around the water,” says Rick Caissie, national director of injury prevention programming with the Canadian Red Cross. “Adults should not only discuss safe behaviour with their kids, but model it themselves.”

Recent polling shows that despite significant water safety education and awareness programming there is still a gap in Canadians’ behaviour around the water:

  • 82 per cent of Canadians believe there is a legal requirement to wear a lifejacket when boating, only 50 per cent of boat owners always wear their lifejacket
  • Only 46 per cent of children know how to swim
  • For 51 per cent of Canadians, ‘not allowing children under 10 to access the pool area’ is their only strategy to prevent injuries related to backyard pools. This relies too much on verbal commands.
  • 11 per cent of Canadian respondents who own a pool indicate they are doing nothing to prevent access to the pool for children under 10.
  • 14 per cent of Canadians keep lifejackets on the boat, believing they will have time to find and put on a lifejacket while falling out of the boat.

“While you open your pools and cottages this holiday weekend, please ensure you also take the time to review your safety precautions around the water,” adds Caissie.

The Canadian Red Cross has been helping to keep Canadians safe in, on and around water since 1946. For more information about Canadian Red Cross swimming and water safety programs, or for safety tips, visit

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