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Public Service Announcement

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Risk of drowning is always present

Jun 28, 2013
High water levels are still an issue in many parts of the District of Muskoka and Simcoe County.

SIMCOE MUSKOKA – High water levels are still an issue in many parts of the District of Muskoka and Simcoe County.

With a holiday weekend approaching, the health unit is cautioning people to take extra care while they are enjoying their swimming and boating.

“This year’s high water levels will create stronger currents that can take people by surprise,” says Dr. Charles Gardner, Medical Officer of Health for the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. “The river you enjoyed last summer won’t be the same river this year.”

Central Ontario has already seen several recreational water related incidents, Dr. Gardner noted.

Rapidly flowing rivers also create an erosion hazard that could leave their banks unstable. Even lakes will have currents that could catch boaters by surprise.

During the 2005-2006 fiscal year, there were a total of 285 emergency department visits and 73 hospitalizations for drowning and near-drowning incidents in Ontario. Toddlers and teenagers represented the majority of these.

Janice Greco, manager of the health unit’s injury and substance misuse prevention programs offered a reminder of the simple steps to prevent drowning.

  • Stay within arm’s reach of any children in the water, and keep them in constant visual supervision.
  • Avoid distractions while supervising children in or around water.
  • Don’t just carry lifejackets and personal flotation devices in boats: wear them, and make sure they are properly fitted. This goes for adults and children alike.
  • Avoid swimming in locations that are not known to be safe or professionally supervised.
  • Private pools should be fenced on all sides and include a self-closing, locking gate.
  • Ensure young children take swimming lessons; adults should too, if they can’t swim.
  • Consider taking a course in CPR and first aid.
  • Don’t consume alcohol before swimming or boating.

The health unit’s website has additional information about preventing drowning, at


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