Outreach teams urge water safety this summer

Island Health and Lifesaving Society, BC and Yukon Branch are calling on the region’s residents to focus on water safety this National Injury Prevention Day, July 5.

Island Health and the Lifesaving Society’s WaterWise team will regularly be at eight Capital Region lakes and beaches throughout the summer, as well as Saanich Strawberry Festival, offering demonstrations and tips to help prevent drownings and swimming injuries.


Pictured (left to right): Dirk and Georgia from the WaterWise Team at Lake Matheson

The BC Coroners Service Accidental Drowning Deaths Report stated that 32 fatal drownings occurred in Island Health in 2023, the highest of all B.C. regions, and worst year on record for Island Health. Also, on average an additional ten people require hospitalizations annually for water-related injuries.

Most drownings happen in natural bodies of water, such as lakes and rivers, according to the Lifesaving Society. Deaths are most likely to occur during the summer, particularly in July, and on weekends. 

Water safety tips 

  • Learn to swim as a family
  • Wear a lifejacket
  • Keep children within arms' reach 
  • Go to lifeguard supervised beaches and pools
  • Designate an adult backyard pool lifeguard
  • Stay within your abilities 
  • Stay sober 
  • Be aware of, and limit, dangers associated with high-risk activities like cliff jumping
  • Install four-sided fencing with a self-latching gate around backyard pools

Learn more about water safety, courses and tips.


The team can be found five days a week through August 23 at the following locations on a rotating basis:

  • Thetis Lake
  • Elk Lake
  • Langford Lake
  • Sooke Potholes
  • Matheson Lake
  • Willows Beach
  • Glen Lake
  • Durrance Lake