1. Learn the skills
Swimming is an essential life skill in Canada, particularly if you have a cottage; Enroll children in certified learn-to-swim programs, and teens and adults in lifesaving courses such as Swim to Survive or Lifeguarding.
2. Supervise actively
Stay *on guard* (not on your phone!) and *in arms reach* of children and non-swimmers; Swim and play with a buddy, and pay attention, in case one of you gets into trouble.
3. Use caution in open water
Distances can be deceiving, and extra challenges are posed by colder water, wave action, currents, wind and visibility;
Watch for motor crafts and ensure they can see you (eg, use a swim buoy/bag); Don't go out alone.
4. Play safely with recreational toys
Check weight limits of all toys; Remove glasses and jewelry before playing; Anchor or secure slides, platforms & trampolines; Monitor inflatables for air leaks, and check ropes/lines for secure knots or wear and tear; Never swim under large toys.
5. Care with swimming & training aids
Be aware that most training aids are not life saving devices: close supervision is still required for inexperienced swimmers!
Before using paddle/kick boards, fins etc., warm up to prevent injury; learn to secure goggles, masks and snorkels correctly.
6. Wear PFDs when boating & playing
Most drownings occur among those who never intended to end up in the water; even for strong swimmers, a boating accident can cause injury or disorientation that prevents keeping themselves afloat. PFDs save lives, period.
7. Practice safe boating!