With people spending more time outdoors and planning recreational activity at lakes and rivers, the Alberta RCMP reminds Albertans to be mindful about the risk of injury, accidents, and drownings. Whether operating a boat, canoe, watercraft, or participating in activities like tubing or swimming, it is important to keep water safety top of mind during the summer months.
Recommendations for essential safety practices on the water include:
- Avoid impairment - Never operate a boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, which is illegal and punishable under the Criminal Code. Impairment will also affect a person's motor ability, judgement, and reaction time.
- Check the weather - Always check weather forecasts and reports as changing weather conditions can be extremely dangerous while on the water. Continue to monitor weather conditions for the duration of your water activity.
- Share your plans - Share your itinerary and location with someone so that you could be located quickly in case of an emergency.
- Consider communication limitations – Keep in mind that cell phone coverage may be limited or nonexistent where you are and plan ahead. Research alternatives like satellite phones or GPS devices for remote or off grid areas.
- Dress to protect - Dress appropriately for cool weather or extreme sun and wear life jackets, personal flotation devices, or helmets if required, when on the water. Wearing a life jacket or PFD is the best defense for surviving cold-water shock and hypothermia.
- Prepare your boat – Ensure your boat is equipped with mandatory boat safety equipment and always bring emergency supplies like extra food, water, clothes, and a cell phone.
- Know your limits – Be self-aware and don't push your physical limits. Many drowning instances have been a result of fatigue and being too far from shore.
Public safety is a top priority for Alberta RCMP and water safety is a shared responsibility.
For more tips for water safety practice, view our YouTube channel video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CjVxiA6maIQ.