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Water Safety

It's important to practice safe water safety year-round. Barrie's outdoor summer activities include swimming, fishing, powerboating and canoeing; its outdoor winter activities include ice fishing and snowmobiling. Below are some safety tips for swimming, boating, and ice activities. 

Swimming Safety Tips 

Backyard pools 

  • Actively supervise children around water, even if they can swim.
  • Establish pool rules and enforce them with both adults and children
  • Ensure adequate barriers are in place such as four-sided fencing along with a self-closing, self-latching gate.
  • Empty portable toddler pools after each use.
  • When not using your home pool, clear all toys out of the water and away from the edge. These can often tempt children to the water’s edge.
  • Swim with a buddy. Buddies can help each other or go for help in case of an emergency.
  • Ensure you have emergency equipment including a first aid kit and a phone in the immediate pool area.
  • Keep pool chemicals, pest control substances and cleaners out of reach of children.
  • Avoid diving in home pools; always enter the water feet first.
  • Get trained. Learning some life-saving skills, such as CPR and rescue techniques, can help you save a life. Courses are available through the City of Barrie.

 Open water 

  • Actively supervise children around water, even if they can swim.
  • Never underestimate the power of current. Swimmers or waders can be swept away in an instant, particularly if non-swimmers or weak swimmers get caught by current in rivers or out of their depth in abrupt drop-offs.
  • Be cautious about swimming in currents, and know what to do if caught in a current.
  • Swim with a buddy. Buddies can help each other or go for help in case of an emergency.
  • Avoid diving unless the you're properly trained and certain that the water is deep enough.
  • Get trained. Learning some life-saving skills, such as CPR and rescue techniques, can help you save a life. Courses are available through the City of Barrie.

Boating Safety

Be Prepared
Ensure your vessel has the required safety gear on board and sufficient fuel. Carry a VHF radio or cell phone with you when on the water. Always tell someone where you are going and when you will return. Get trained. Learn how to survive an unexpected fall into the water.

Be Aware of Environmental Conditions
Check weather and water conditions before heading out and monitor for changing conditions while out. Return to the nearest point of safety if the conditions change. The presence of cold water, wind, waves, current and darkness make recreational boating activities much more dangerous.

Stay Alert and in Control
Never consume alcohol before or during a boating outing. Plan and prepare: Ensure the operator of the boat is experienced, the vessel is loaded properly, and that appropriate safety equipment is on board. An emergency plan should be established ahead of time. Drive powerboats responsibly – use appropriate speed, especially when the water is choppy. Stay seated! You can easily fall out of a small powerboat, canoe or kayak.

Always Wear a Lifejacket or PFD
A properly worn flotation device is the fundamental safety item for anyone heading out on a boat. It keeps you at the surface of the water during unexpected or unintentional entries into water, reduces the initial impact (cold water shock to your muscles) of a fall into cold water, and can help you reach safety. All persons on board, even strong swimmers, should be wearing a lifejacket/PFD.

For more boating safety tips please refer to the Lifesaving Society or Canadian Red Cross.


Ice Safety

There are several steps you can take to stay ice smart:

  • Always check ice thickness before venturing out. Snowmobiles require at least five inches of clear solid ice and autos at least eight inches to a foot of clear solid ice.
  • Be suspicious. You cannot tell the strength of the ice by its appearance. Temperature, thickness, snow cover, water depth, size of water body, currents and distribution of the load on top of the ice are all factors affecting ice safety.
  • Before you head onto any ice, check with a local bait shop operator or resort owner for known ice conditions, thin ice areas or dangerous open water conditions.
  • Avoid travelling on ice at night - clear hard ice is the only kind of ice recommended for travel, keep away from unfamiliar paths or unknown ice.
  • If you must venture onto the ice, wear a thermal protection buoyant suit to increase your chances of survival if you fall through. If you do not have one, wear a lifejacket/PFD over an ordinary snowmobile suit or layered winter clothing.
  • Avoid slushy ice, thawed ice that has recently refrozen, layered or rotten ice caused by sudden temperature changes, and ice near moving water (i.e., rivers or currents).
  • Never go on the ice alone; a buddy may be able to rescue you or go for help if you get into difficulty.
  • Before you leave shore, inform someone of your destination and expected time of return, and, ideally, assemble a small personal safety kit no larger than the size of a man's wallet to carry with you. The kit should include a lighter, waterproof matches, magnesium fire starter, pocketknife, compass and whistle. You should also carry ice picks, an ice staff, a rope and a cellular phone.

For more ice safety tips and information, please refer to the Lifesaving Society or the Canadian Red Cross.

 

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