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Stay out of water at unsupervised beach, Lifesaving Society says



OTTAWA —The Lifesaving Society is urging the public to exercise caution and stay out of the water at Westboro Beach in Ottawa this summer. Due to ongoing construction and the absence of lifeguards, the beach is only partially open and lacks water testing, posing potential safety risks for swimmers [1].


Swimming in areas without lifeguards can be dangerous, as most fatal swimming accidents occur in unsupervised settings. To enhance safety, the Lifesaving Society advises beachgoers to choose supervised swimming areas with lifeguards on duty. Lifeguards play a crucial role in promptly responding to emergencies and preventing potential drownings, making supervised beaches the safest choice for swimmers of all ages [1].


The responsibility for beach operations, including lifeguards and water testing, has now been transferred to the National Capital Commission (NCC) following the termination of their lease agreement with the city. With the absence of lifeguards at Westboro Beach, concerns have been raised regarding the safety of beachgoers, especially children, who may be at higher risk without trained lifeguards on duty [1].


In contrast to the situation in Ottawa, New Brunswick's Mactaquac Beach is also facing a similar challenge this summer as there will be no lifeguards on duty. The Lifesaving Society in New Brunswick reported staff shortages and difficulties in finding qualified candidates to fill lifeguard positions. Becoming a lifeguard requires physically demanding and time-consuming training, with specific qualifications needed for waterfront settings. The absence of lifeguards at Mactaquac Beach raises concerns about the increased risk of drowning incidents, particularly as many occur in natural water bodies like ponds, lakes, and rivers [2].


While beaches without lifeguards face challenges, other municipalities like the City of Fredericton have managed to overcome hiring difficulties and provide sufficient lifeguard staff for their aquatic facilities this season [2].


In the absence of lifeguards, the Lifesaving Society emphasizes the importance of awareness, life-jacket usage, and vigilant supervision of children while near bodies of water. These proactive measures can significantly reduce the risk of accidents and potential drownings. Statistics demonstrate that lifeguards play a crucial role in preventing drowning incidents, making their presence an essential component of ensuring public safety at beaches and swimming areas [2].


As summer continues, it is vital for beachgoers to prioritize their safety and the safety of others. Choosing supervised beaches with lifeguards on duty is the best way to enjoy the water responsibly while minimizing potential risks.


 

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