Don’t bring inflatables! And other beach safety tips

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Summer will not be complete without a visit to the beach. And with Manitoba’s more than 100,000 lakes, you will not run out of choices (just check out some of these amazing beaches from 14 Manitoba beaches you need to explore this summer by Cyla Panin of Buzzfeed)! To help keep your beach jaunts always fun and safe, take note of the following beach safety tips from the Government of Manitoba’s Beach Safety Program:

Obey all flag warnings and safety signs

At staffed beaches
Staffed beaches are those that have Beach Safety Officers on duty. In Manitoba, Grand beach, Winnipeg beach, and Birds Hill Park are staffed beaches. Safety Officers patrol the beaches, inspect for hazards, provide public education, assist in search and rescue, and administer first aid. They are not lifeguards.

Follow the flag warning system:

  • Green flag – “Good conditions. No unusual hazards.”
  • Yellow flag – “Moderate conditions. Swim with caution.”
  • Red flag – “Danger! Swimming not advised.”
  • Red/White flag – “Emergency evacuation. Take shelter.”
  • No flag – “No Beach Safety Officer on duty.”

Non staffed beaches (all the rest of the beaches in MB) and staffed beaches also use safety signs to communicate beach safety rules and signal hazards:

  • Green circle – Recommended activities.
  • Yellow triangle –Warning messages.
  • Red circle with a red diagonal slash – Prohibited activities.

There are other beach safety signs that you will notice (identifiable by a green border and the Beach Safety Program logo). Signs are posted in English and French at St. Malo and St. Ambroise provincial parks.

Be water smart

  1. Swim only in the designated swimming areas.
  2. Never swim alone (use the Buddy System).

  3. Know how to swim.
  4. It is the best way to stay safe and enjoy the water.

  5. Watch your children at all times.
  6. Never leave them alone in the water (even for teens/young adults).

  7. Ensure that kids are properly supervised.
  8. Adults may be distracted by activities such as meal preparation, equipment set-up, or packing.

  9. Don’t bring inflatables to the beach.
  10. They can be fun to have around but the wind can blow them into deeper waters where children tend to follow.

  11. Weaker swimmers and young children should wear a properly-sized life jacket or personal flotation device.
  12. Know your swimming limitations.
  13. Don’t keep up with more experienced or stronger swimmers.

  14. Always check water depth before diving.
  15. Stay sober.
  16. Don’t consume alcohol before or while swimming.

  17. Learn basic lifesaving and first aid skills.

Adapted from the Manitoba Beach Safety Program page.

Other safety tips:

  1. Always check the weather before going.
  2. Don’t risk life and limb when there is an expected weather disturbance. You can go to the beach another day.

  3. Wear sunblock.
  4. Or avoid direct sunlight from 11am to 3 pm. If you are out in the sun, use sunblock with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. Read the article Here’s a list of changes to Canada’s sun safety guidelines, the first update in 20 years by Carmen Chai, Global News to know more about SPF.

  5. Watch out for sunstroke or heat exhaustion
  6. Stay hydrated by drinking water (not coffee or alcohol). Bring an umbrella or stay in the shade when you feel that you’ve had too much sun.

  7. Protect your feet
  8. Wear thicker flip flops or a pair of shoes to protect your feet from sharp objects and other debris, and even hot sand.

  9. Bring a first aid kit for any contingencies.

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Community Resources

Planning a beach getaway? Download the Manitoba Beach Safety brochure and read it before you go.

Also read Swimming safety for kids for additional tips.

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