OTTAWA -- As summer arrives in Ottawa, the Ottawa Drowning Prevention Coalition is encouraging everyone to practice water safety at all times at beaches, lakes and swimming pools.

Approximately 500 Canadians die by drowning every year. Last Tuesday, a two-year-old boy drowned in the Ottawa River at Petrie Island.

"Drowning is fast and silent and can occur in as little as a few centimetres of water," said the Ottawa Drowning Prevention Coalition.

"It is important to remember that drowning deaths are preventable if we all do our part and use layers of protection."

Parents are advised to watch children at all times around pools and bodies of water.

The Ottawa Drowning Prevention Coalition provides water safety tips for safe swimming this summer.

  • Stay within arms reach of your child at all times in and around the water
  • Always swim with a buddy
  • Swim near a lifeguard. Visit a supervised swimming setting for a safer swim
  • Be a Water Watcher and provide direct and distraction-free supervision of your children who are enjoying water-related activities
  • Wear a lifejacket or personal flotation device whenever you are in a boat, regardless of age or swimming ability
  • Make sure you have the mandatory safety equipment on board your vessel
  • Alcohol, drugs and water do not mix. Be sober when swimming or boating
  • Take swimming lessons and CPR/First Aid classes
  • Install fencing around backyard pools, measuring at least 1.5 metres high and include a self-latching, self-locking gate with a lock

Splash pads are now open in the City of Ottawa, while lifeguards will be on duty at Ottawa's three beaches starting June 27.

Outdoor pools, wading pools and beaches are now open in Gatineau.

Transport Canada says the following equipment is required on motorized craft no greater than six metres in length

  • An appropriately sized, Canadian-approved personal flotation device or lifejacket for each person on board
  • A buoyant heaving line (15 metres in length)
  • Manual propelling device or anchor with at least 15 metres of rope, cable, or chain
  • Bailer or hand pump
  • Sound-signalling device
  • Navigation lights if the craft is used between sunset and sunrise or during periods of reduced visibility
  • A class 5BC fire extinguisher for any craft equipped with an inboard motor, fixed fuel tank, and/or any fuel-burning cooking, eating or refrigeration units
  • A waterproof flashlight or three Canadian-approved flares