Don’t bring inflatables (and other beach safety tips)!

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Summer will not be complete without a visit to the beach. With Manitoba’s 83 provincial park beaches, you will not run out of choices. To help keep your trip fun and safe, take note of the following safety guidelines:

Obey all flag warnings and safety signs

Please note that there is a high drowning rate in the province. Newcomers (and even locals) who are unfamiliar with the nature and depth of Manitoba waters must be extra cautious. Always follow safety protocols when you’re on the water. Wear a life jacket if you will be taking a boat to go into deeper waters.

At staffed beaches
Staffed beaches are those that have Beach Safety Officers on duty. In Manitoba, Winnipeg beach, Birds Hill Park and Grand beach are staffed beaches. Safety Officers patrol the beaches, inspect for hazards, provide public education, assist in search and rescue, and administer first aid. They will also be reminding park users of COVID-19 public health guidelines. 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.”

Both non staffed beaches 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.

You may notice other signs that have a green border and show the Beach Safety Program logo. Follow them for your safety. Signs are posted in English and French at St. Malo and St. Ambroise provincial parks.

Be water smart

  1. Swim only in designated swimming areas.
  2. Never swim alone (use the Buddy System).
  3. Learn how to swim. It is the best way to stay safe and enjoy the water.
  4. Watch your children at all times. Never leave them alone in the water (even for teens/young adults).
  5. Ensure that kids are properly supervised. Adults may be distracted by activities such as meal preparation, equipment set-up, or packing. Designate someone, preferably an adult who knows how to swim to watch children.
  6. Don’t bring inflatables to the beach. They can be fun to have around but the wind can blow them into deeper waters where children tend to follow.
  7. Weaker swimmers and young children should wear properly-sized life jackets. Bring your own life jackets and personal flotation devices to be safe. Some beaches may have them but it is not guaranteed.
  8. Know your limitations. Don’t keep up with more experienced or stronger swimmers.
  9. Always check water depth before diving.
  10. Stay sober. Don’t consume alcohol before or while swimming.
  11. Learn basic lifesaving and first aid skills.

Adapted from the Manitoba Beach Safety brochure

Other reminders:

  1. Check the weather before going. Don’t travel when there is an expected weather disturbance. You can always go to the beach another day.
  2. Bring everything you need. This will limit stops to buy things, thus limiting exposure to others (we’re still in a pandemic after all). Make sure you have a First-Aid kit on hand.
  3. Wear sunblock. Avoid direct sunlight from 11 am to 3 pm. If you are out in the sun, use sunblock with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or higher.
  4. Watch out for sunstroke or heat exhaustion. Stay hydrated by drinking enough water (not coffee or alcohol). Bring an umbrella or stay in the shade when you feel that you’ve had too much sun.
  5. Protect your feet Wear thicker flip flops or a pair of shoes to protect your feet from sharp objects, debris and hot sand.

Article updated June 20, 2022.
Sources: Manitoba Provincial Park Beaches and Safety officers heading to Manitoba beaches amid COVID-19, no new cases reported Thursday, Shane Gibson, Global News. Accessed June 10, 2020.

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Community Resources

Also read Swimming safety for kids for additional tips.

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