This past week there were two very tragic drowning incidents that occurred at Britannia Beach. One individual who was rescued after several minutes under water remains in critical condition while the second person, in a separate incident, went missing and was not recovered in time. My condolences to their family and friends. I cannot imagine the grief that they are going through. I want to thank the lifeguards and the members of Ottawa Emergency Services for all their efforts.
These incidents sadly precede “National Drowning Prevention Week”. On Monday July 17, in my capacity as Deputy City Mayor, I will be joining the Lifesaving Society of Canada, the Ottawa Drowning Prevention Coalition and Lifesaving Society Ontario at City Hall to proclaim National Drowning Prevention Week. Annually the third week of July is designated as such as an important reminder of water safety.
The Ottawa Police Service, Ottawa Fire Department, Ottawa Paramedic Service and their Ottawa Drowning Prevention Coalition partners are urging all residents to practice water safety when they are on, in or near water this summer.
Drowning deaths are preventable with water safety knowledge and common sense. Drowning Prevention Week reminds people of important water safety tips that save lives:
- Learn to swim and don’t swim alone,
- Children and non-swimmers should always be supervised around water – Keep children within arm’s reach,
- Wear a lifejacket when you are in a boat,
- Stay sober – don’t drink and swim or drive a boat.
Basic water safety skills are essential when you are near water.
- Know that any depth of water is dangerous
- Place barriers around the water
- Always designate or be a water watcher – be diligent!
- Remember drowning is quiet and quick
- Learn water rescue skills and CPR
It is important to note that Britannia Beach has lifeguards that are on duty from June 17 until August 27, 2023 to supervise swimming from 12pm to 7pm daily. Swimmers are asked to stay within the buoy lines and to not go beyond. Inside the buoy line area is where lifeguards can safely monitor swimmers and where the river bottom is well known.
Please make good choices when venturing out into the water and take care of yourself and each other.