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Published August 4, 2023

Swimmers warned about the risks of floaties on open water as long weekend looms

OPP say they’ve seen an increase in calls involving inflatables floating into waterways and away from safe swim areas

Anyone heading out on the water this long weekend is being urged to leave their floaties on the shore. 

The Ontario chapter of the Lifesaving Society says floaties or inflatables that come in a wide range of shapes and sizes pose a risk when taken out by swimmers in waterways. 

Stephanie Bakalar, corporate communications manager for the organization that works to prevent drowning, says inflatables may be popular but are meant for pools or to be secured firmly to a dock. 

She says the majority of drownings in Ontario happen in open water settings and people can overestimate their ability to swim to safety. 

Ontario Parks say lakes and rivers are unpredictable due to strong currents, waves and winds, making it easy for inflatables to drift into deep waters.

Ontario Provincial Police say they’ve seen an increase in calls involving inflatables floating into waterways and away from safe swim areas. 

Earlier this week, Hamilton police found the body of a 14−year−old boy who went missing in Lake Ontario after a group of youth took an inflatable out on the water. 

Officials are reminding those out on the water this long weekend to wear a life jacket and not consume alcohol while on open water.

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