Boating safety reminders

Drowning prevention recommendations


As the weather gets warmer, the City of Nanaimo would like to remind residents as they seek out a variety of recreational opportunities that it is important to be safe in or near water. Within City limits, there are beautiful beaches, isolated islands, lovely lakes and refreshing rivers for various water sports and activities.

Residents are encouraged to stay safe while near or in the water because 66% of drownings that occur in BC happen between May and September each year. The Lifesaving Society website shows that 24% of these drownings occur in relation to boating incidents (e.g. powerboats, canoes, and inflatable craft).

Contributing factors to the drownings were a failure to utilize a personal floatation device (PFD) and absent or distracted supervision of children. Parents should always ensure that they are within arm’s length reach of their children while around water because drowning can occur in as little as four seconds!

To stay safe this season while boating and getting active by the water, please follow these recommendations:

  • Be prepared: check equipment and weather forecast; know the waters and your ability.
  • Share your water sport activity in the company of a friend or a family member; bring a buddy.
  • Wear a PFD when boating and when young children are close to the water.
  • Let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return.
  • Avoid the use of alcohol and drugs as they impair decision making and physical abilities.
  • Use active supervision and stay within arms length reach of children while in or around the water.
  • Call 9-1-1 if help is needed.
  • Learn how to swim.

Link to Strategic Plan: The City of Nanaimo is committed to the safety and well-being of its residents.

Key Points

  • Having a PFD while in the water is one of the best ways to prevent drownings.
  • Most drownings that happen in BC (66%) occur between the months of May to September.


"Nanaimo is fortunate to be surrounded by water with lakes, rivers and the ocean. You are encouraged to take all of the safety recommendations as outlined while near or in bodies of water to prevent drowning and to stay safe as the weather warms up."

City of Nanaimo

Quick Facts

  • From the drownings that happened in BC in 2020, 34% were at lakes, 29% were at rivers and 7% were at oceans. 79% of victims were male and 21% were female.
  • Be aware that those most at risk of drowning are children under 5 years old and those aged 15-34.


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