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Water Safety

Water safety

Simcoe Muskoka residents enjoy water activities in lakes, rivers, private pools and recreational facilities. Unfortunately, many people die each year in water-related incidents. Of these incidents, many people are injured or drown while engaging in activities where they never expected to enter into the water, such as, an unexpected fall into water while boating or into a backyard pool.


  • An average of 458 people drown every year in Canada
  • More children drown in bathtubs than in pools

Find more interesting facts by visiting Parachute, The Life Saving Society & Red Cross

The health unit works with community partner in an effort to prevent drowning  in our communities.


  • Raise awareness of water related injuries and deaths and provide education on our webpages and through social media.
  • Provide access to data and resources for community stakeholders.

What Matters to Your Health

Water safety for adults

It is important to know the differences between a lifejacket and a personal floatation device (PDF).  Lifejackets are designed to turn the person wearing it over in the water so that their head faces up, even if they have lost consciousness.  Lifejackets are also red, yellow or orange so that they are more easily spotted when in the water.  Lifejackets are also designed for specific weights, so it is important to select one that is appropriate for your weight to ensure it will support you in the water.  PFD's are often designed to be more comfortable when worn for a longer time, and are often not designed to turn your face up when you enter the water.  When you are going on the water or spending time near the water, it is important to consider whether a lifejacket or a PFD is more appropriate.

For more information:

Call Health Connection at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

External Links

A lifejacket is NOT the same as a personal flotation device (PFD), although in many cases they look very similar. The terms "lifejacket" and "personal flotation device (PFD)" are often used interchangeably but there are very important differences. See the chart below.

 LifejacketPersonal Flotation Device (PFD)
A lifejacket is designed to turn an unconscious person from face down to face up in the water, allowing them to breathe.A PFD is designed to keep a conscious person afloat in calm conditions.
Lifejackets have more buoyancy than PFDs. Most of the buoyancy material is in the front of the device.PFDs have less buoyancy. The floatation material is on the back of the device. This makes them less bulky and more comfortable allowing for greater movement than a lifejacket.
Lifejackets must be red, yellow or orange, and must have a whistle attached. These features make it easier to be located in a rescue situation.Canadian-approved PFDs are available in a variety of colours. Bright colours allow a person to be seen easily in the water if help is needed.
A lifejacket is the best choice if your child is unable to swim or is a weak swimmer. It will give your child the best possible chance for survival should they end up in the water unexpectedly.PFDs were designed for use in recreational boating and are a good choice for people who are confident in the water.

For more information please visit Canadian Red Cross – Lifejackets and PFDs

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If you have any questions or concerns that require a response, please contact Health Connection directly.

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