Do you think Public Beaches should be Supervised by Lifeguards?

After waking to the heartbreaking news that yet another life has been taken while attending a public beach in Ontario I can not help but wonder why there are not lifeguards on duty?  Often you hear their friends say they were strong swimmers and it happened so fast. So is being prepared enough? 
Many people visit beaches throughout the summer all over the world.  Some are supervised, some are not. I think the government should make it that there are lifeguards on all (popular summer destination) public beaches. A warning sign saying “swim at your own risk” does not do anything. Many just look at it as the municipalities way of covering there butt with insurance.  I am realistic that not all beaches can be supervised. But the must visit destinations are often unguarded. You would think the crowded beaches would be top priority. 

Looking through previous years news articles it is always the same beaches. Ages vary as does sex and residence of the victim. How many times does tragedy need to strike before something is done. Making this even sadder is that Canada just finished National Drowning Prevention Week July 16 – 23

“Next to traffic incidents, drowning is the third most common cause of accidental death in Canada. Completely preventable, drowning can happen to anyone. Swimming is a life skill that everyone needs to learn. It is no different than fire safety or street-proofing our children.
Many groups and individuals have a role as Society partners in preventing these tragic and preventable deaths and injuries”  taken from a life saving site

I highly doubt that the government is going to add lifeguards to all beaches. I realize that accidents can happen to anyone anywhere. However I believe as parents it is our job to take every step possible to prevent this from happening (as best as we can) Ways you can help your child are below 

The Life Saving society offers crucial tips to keep safe

  • Stay within arms’ reach of children – don’t leave children unsupervised as drownings can occur in as little as 10 seconds.
  • Restrict access to backyard pools and ensure there is a lockable gate and fence around the entire perimeter of the pool.
  • Make sure children are wearing an approved lifejacket or personal flotation device when playing near water.
  • Lock all doors leading out to bodies of water and secure low windows that a child could crawl through.
  • Establish rules that children must follow when near water.
  • Closely supervise children with inflatable toys.
  • Drain backyard wading pools and empty buckets of water when not in use.
  • Get trained! Enroll in a Lifesaving Society swimming and first aid training course.

You can read a detailed fact sheet on drowning and water safety here

Having older children I often allow my kids to go to the beach with their friends and with their friends families. I can not deny them this fun summer tradition because of my worries and concerns. But I do stress to them the importance of safety.  I have had all my children in swimming lessons and both my spouse and I have taken various CPR and life saving courses. However I still worry. i wish there was more to be done.

Do you attend unsupervised beaches? Have you taken your child to lessons? What extra steps to you take when around water? I know I have readers from all around the world, I would love to know how safe your beaches are.



  1. Yes I do think pubic beaches should have lifeguards. If not every public beach, at least the busier beaches. I live near Asbhridges Bay and it's busy every Summer weekend. I think it's funny that there are "lifeguard stands" were lifeguards used to sit and supervise but there are no lifeguards in them anymore. Sad.

  2. RoryBore says

    It certainly would be nice to have lifeguards at the more populated spots. Both our local beaches are unsupervised. By far more worrisome to me is the lack of parental supervision I have witnessed. Just this weekend, I watched as a couple left their 6 year old boy, who yes granted has taken swim lessons and has a backyard pool of his own, swimming – without a life jacket! I mean they literally left him at the beach and went inside the cottage!! Since my own son was swimming, I was there…but there was no dialogue between them and me regarding watching their son. Thus, when my son got tired and put his life jacket on, I was still forced to stay in/near the water until they were ready to come out. 2 hours later!! I have 2 other children to watch..I didn't need the added responsibility. And this was not the only case… older children were taking the canoe and paddle boats out without any life jackets. Rampant carelessness in my opinion. It's just not worth the risk.

  3. For sure the busier beaches should be lifeguarded! Its so easy for accidents to happen. In the case of the 13 year old girl who just drowned, I think that she was a non-swimmer. Such a terrible shame. I think also that basic swimming lessons should be given at all schools and be mandatory with refresher classes for older grades.

  4. LindsayDianne says

    I think a lot of the public beaches in BC are manned by lifeguards, and if they're not there is always a sign posted. I'd say at least the ones in Vancouver and the Greater Vancouver area there are lifeguards.

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