Be Water Safe! Be Water Smart! Public Health Sudbury & Districts urges water safety awareness

With warm weather arriving, Public Health Sudbury & Districts is reminding those that enjoy spending time on and around our many lakes, rivers, and streams to “Be Water Safe! Be Water Smart!”. Knowing how to be safe and smart in and around the water can save lives.

“Our service area has the largest freshwater island in the world, Manitoulin Island. We are also fortunate to live among many lakes and rivers and are reminding people to be prepared and aware of the risks, whether boating, swimming, or simply enjoying the shoreline,” said Stephanie Gray, a public health nurse.

In 2022, there were 8 emergency department visits that resulted from a near-drowning or submersion injury in Sudbury and districts. Tragically, in 2021, there were 6 deaths from injuries due to drowning and submersion in Sudbury and districts.

“The Ontario government is taking steps to increase the safety of anglers on the waterways this summer. Conservation officers with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry will be out patrolling the waterways ensuring compliance with public safety and natural resource laws,” said Iain McGale, Acting Staff Sergeant, Sudbury Enforcement Unit, Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

Here are some suggestions for having a great day on or around the water and to reduce near-drownings and drownings:

Be prepared

  • Wear a lifejacket or personal floatation device (PFD) when out on the water.
  • Keep children within arms reach.
  • Always swim and boat sober.
  • Swim with a friend or with someone nearby.
  • Consider what safety equipment you need. Download the Boat Notes app and explore their information on boating safely.
  • When boating, use an app like the Weather to Boat app to plan your trip. The app has everything from weather reports, the nearest refueling station, and other safety tools and tips.

Know the rules

  • In Canada, it’s against the law to operate a boat while impaired, whether by alcohol, cannabis, or other drugs.
  • Each person must have an appropriately sized lifejacket or PFD on board a watercraft.

Community partners have come together to improve water safety on Manitoulin Island through the Manitoulin Partners for Water Safety. Manitoulin Partners for Water Safety is a collaborative effort between Municipality of Central Manitoulin, Town of Northeastern Manitoulin & the Islands, Township of Assiginack, Assiginack Family Health Team, Mnaamodzawin Health Services, Ontario Provincial Police, Manitoulin-Sudbury DSB Paramedic Services, Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, and Public Health Sudbury & Districts.

For more information on water safety, visit or call Public Health Sudbury & Districts at 705.522.9200 (toll-free 1.866.522.9200).

This item was last modified on May 16, 2024