Drowning Prevention Week | July 17 – 23, 2022

July and August mean sunny skies, busy beaches and lots of people out on the water. While rivers, lakes, and oceans may provide a way to escape the heat this summer, July and August also see a spike in drowning rates.

  • National Drowning Prevention Week (NDPW) – the third week of July – is an annual initiative of the Lifesaving Society aimed at reducing the number of water-related fatalities and drowning incidents by promoting water safety messages in the community.
  • 2017 saw over 465 Canadian water-related fatalities and death. Check out the key statistics from the 2020 Edition’s National Drowning Report.


The Lifesaving Society emphasizes 7 main themes for this year’s NDPW:

  1. The Drowning Problem: It only takes seconds to drown and most incidents are silent and unexpected. A submersion incident where water has entered lungs can cause complications – and even death – up to 72 hours after a swimmer has struggled in the water. 
  2. Supervise Children: Always directly supervise children around the water – if you are not within arms’ reach, you’ve gone too far.
  3. Boating Safety: Always wear a lifejacket when in a boat.
  4. Learn to Swim. In most drownings, the victim never intended to go in the water and was often close to safety.
  5. Stay Sober In, On, and Around the Water: Alcohol and cannabis use impair balance, judgment, and reflexes and are factors in many water related fatalities.
  6. Open Water Safety: Make smart choices before going in, on, or around the water.
  7. Just Keep Learning: Take a learn-to-swim, lifesaving or first aid class today and save a life.


Basic swimming ability is a fundamental requirement in any meaningful attempt to eliminate drowning in Canada. Along with swimming lessons, UBC Recreation offers all levels of lifesaving certifications, including:

Yearly recertification for C level CPR. Previous CPR C Basic Rescuer Certification is required for this course. Re-certification is through Lifesaving Society or Canadian Red Cross.

Prerequisites: Previous CPR-C Certification.

This is a club-style session for youth. Activities include lifesaving, first aid, Fitness and endurance swimming, community education, and team building games. Leadership skills are developed through special activities and events. JLC has been updated to enhance rescue skills in preparation for the Bronze level courses. The course culminates in the Lifesaving Society's Telegames in which members will compete against other pools from their home pool.

Prerequisites: 8 years old by start date, ability to swim 25m and tread water for 1 minute.

Bronze Star is a Pre-Bronze Medallion program that provides excellent preparation for success in obtaining the Bronze Medallion Award. In Bronze Star, participants develop problem-solving and decision making skills as they relate to water rescue and first aid.

Prerequisites: 10 years old by start date, comfort with strokes and completion of Swim Kids 9 or 10.

Bronze Medallion is a prerequisite for Bronze Cross and the Lifeguard stream of courses. This course develops judgement, rescue skills, fitness/stroke efficiency, timed swim, aquatic related emergencies and injuries. 100% attendance and participation mandatory. Canadian Lifesaving Manual is required for this course and included.

Prerequisites: LS Bronze Star and/or 13 years of age by last day of the course.

Bronze Cross is designed for lifesavers who want the challenge of more advanced training, including an introduction to safety supervision.

The Lifesaving Society’s Bronze Cross begins the transition from lifesaving to lifeguarding and prepares candidates for responsibilities as Assistant Lifeguards. Candidates strengthen and expand their lifesaving skills and begin to apply the principles and techniques of active surveillance in aquatic facilities. Bronze Cross emphasizes the importance of teamwork and communication in preventing and responding to aquatic emergencies. Bronze Cross is a prerequisite for advanced training in the Society’s National Lifeguard and leadership certification programs. 100% attendance and participation mandatory. Required text: Canadian Lifesaving Manual.

Prerequisites: Bronze Medallion

This session tests the candidates in all required in all skills and procedures necessary to meet the NL recertification requirements. Both a practical and written exam is required. SFA and CPR C is required but need not be current.

Prerequisite: NL award. Recommended expired within 3 years. Airway Management & Oxygen Administration Online module complete through Lifesaving Society.

Covers airway, breathing and cardiovascular emergencies: bleeding; burns; soft tissue, musculoskeletal, head and spine injuries; heat and cold emergencies; poisoning; bandaging and splinting; medical conditions, e.g. diabetes, epileptic seizures; moving and transportation; and secondary survey. CPR-C and associated AED protocol included. SFA certification will be through the Lifesaving Society or Canadian Red Cross.

Recertification of Standard First Aid. Includes CPR-C re-cert with associated AED protocol. Award will be issued through the Lifesaving Society or Canadian Red Cross.

Prerequisites: Must have previous SFA or AEC award.


Resources & Learning Activities to Be Water Smart:

Participate in creating awareness:

Spread the word and help to increase awareness through your networks.  The public is encouraged to interact with their social media platforms, and be sure to include the #ndpw2022 and #snpn2022 hashtags in your posts!