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

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Beach safety tips

Summer will not be complete without a visit to the beach. We are lucky because Manitoba has 83 beautiful provincial park beaches we can choose from. 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 have Beach Safety Officers on duty. Grand beach, Birds Hill Park and Winnipeg beach are staffed beaches. However, beach Safety Officers are not lifeguards.

What do Safety Officers do? They:

  • guard the beaches
  • check for dangers
  • give public education
  • help in search and rescue
  • give first aid
  • remind park users of COVID-19 public health guidelines.

Follow the flag warning system:

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

All beaches in Manitoba also use safety signs to warn visitors:

  • Green circle – Recommended activities (things you can safely do).
  • Yellow triangle –Warning messages.
  • Red circle with a red diagonal slash – Prohibited activities (things you cannot do).

There may be other safety signs on the beach. These may contain a green border and the Beach Safety Program logo. Follow them for your safety. Signs are written 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.
  5. Always supervise your kids. You may be busy preparing meals or packing. Make sure that an adult is watching them.
  6. Don’t bring inflatable toys to the beach. The wind can blow them into deeper waters. Children can follow and fail to notice the danger.
  7. Bring your own life jackets and personal flotation devices if possible. Weaker swimmers and young children should wear them.
  8. Stay in shallow water if you are not an experienced swimmer.
  9. Always check how deep the water is before diving.
  10. Stay alert. Don’t drink alcohol before or while swimming.
  11. Learn basic lifesaving and first aid skills.

From the Manitoba Beach Safety Brochure.

Other reminders:

  1. Check the weather before going to the beach. Don’t travel when the weather is not good. You can go to the beach on a different day.
  2. Bring everything you need. This will limit stops to buy things, thus limiting exposure to others. Make sure you have a First-Aid kit.
  3. Wear sunblock. Avoid direct sunlight from 11 am to 3 pm. Use sunblock with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or higher.
  4. Prevent sunstroke or heat exhaustion. Drink enough water (not coffee or alcohol). Bring an umbrella or stay in the shade.
  5. Protect your feet. Wear thick flip flops or a pair of shoes. Protect your feet from sharp objects 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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