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A long weekend water safety message from Public Health

Plan ahead and prepare to stay safe on the water
For those of you who will be boating this long weekend, the Canadian Safe Boating Council wants to remind you to keep five key messages in mind to stay safe on the water.

In light of water-related deaths and near drownings in recent years, the Sudbury health unit has issued a seasonal water safety warning for the May long weekend.

With the arrival of warm weather, Public Health Sudbury & Districts (PHSD) is reminding those that enjoy spending time on and around our many lakes, rivers, and streams to “Be Water Safe! Be Water Smart!”

In 2022, eight people were sent to the emergency department due to a near-drowning or submersion injury in Sudbury and districts, the health unit said. In 2021, there were six deaths from injuries due to drowning and submersion in the region. 

Knowing how to be safe and smart in and around the water can save lives, said the news release.

Public health nurse Stephanie Gray noted that this part of Ontario has hundreds of lakes and rivers and is perfect for outdoor adventure. She said people need to be aware of risk.

“Our service area has the largest freshwater island in the world, Manitoulin Island,” Gray said in a news release. “We are also fortunate to live among many lakes and rivers and are reminding people to be prepared and aware of the risks, whether boating, swimming, or simply enjoying the shoreline.”

In order to boost the level of safety, boaters can expect to see stepped up enforcement out on the water, said Iain McGale, acting staff sergeant with the Sudbury Enforcement Unit of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

“The Ontario government is taking steps to increase the safety of anglers on the waterways this summer,” McGale said. “Conservation officers with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry will be out patrolling the waterways ensuring compliance with public safety and natural resource laws.”

To be safe on the water, remember to:

  • Wear a lifejacket or personal floatation device (PFD) when out on the water.
  • Keep children within arms reach.
  • Always swim and boat sober.
  • Use the buddy system; swim with a friend or with someone nearby.

Public Health also advises downloading the Boat Notes App from the Canadian Safe Boating Council.

People are advised to plan ahead for boating trips; know the weather, know the safety information and know the rules.


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