Drowning deaths are on the decline in Canada, but plenty of preventable drowning deaths still occur every year across the country. July 15th to 21st is National Drowning Prevention Week, an annual awareness campaign by the Lifesaving Society that aims to refresh Canadians’ knowledge of water safety.

Between 2011 and 2015 sixteen people in the Northwest Territories died by drowning, according to a report from the Lifesaving Society. The majority of drowning deaths in the Northwest Territories occurred in the warmer months, and 63% of drowning deaths happened in June and September.

The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) recommends these safety tips:

  • Children 7 years old and under should always be within arm’s reach of a caregiver aged 16 years or older while in the water.
  • Watch for hazards and talk about swimming conditions before wading in.  Remember, swimmers 11 years old and under should be accompanied by someone over the age of 16.
  • No matter how experienced you are water can always surprise you.  Everyone should wear a lifejacket while boating, and new swimmers should wear one whenever they are near the water.
  • Drinking alcohol and boating don’t mix; don’t drink while boating!
  • Don’t dive into shallow waters, check the depth and jump in feet first the first time.

As part of National Drowning Prevention week you can enjoy free swims at the Ruth Inch Memorial Pool from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. every day until Saturday, July 21.