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National Drowning Prevention Week 2016

The Lifesaving Society designates the third week in July as National Drowning Prevention Week (NDPW) to focus community and media attention on drowning prevention.

Approximately 500 Canadians die in preventable water-related incidents annually. Even one drowning is one too many. Drownings deaths occur most frequently in adults 20-34.

BC and Canadian Drowning Reports are now available on our website; both show a decrease in the per capita rate (drownings per 100,000 population) when comparing the last two 5 year periods, BC down to 1.7 from 1.9 and Canada down to 1.4 from 1.5.

As a strategy to prevent drownings in BC and the Yukon, the Lifesaving Society offers communities the opportunity to participate in the Public Access Lifering (PAL) Project.

Although already visible in some BC locations, more lifering installations on unsupervised public beaches have the potential to save many lives.
Recent research has shown that most people drown less than 15m from safety and over half of the incidents occur in the company of others.  Having a Public Access Lifering (PAL) installation at all major waterfronts can help reduce these numbers and make our waterfronts safer. 
For more information on the units and the project please visit the Be Watersmart section of our website.
National Drowning Prevention Week is an opportunity to open the conversation with your friends, family and community about water safety and social media provides a great platform.

With NDPW in full swing it has been exciting to see the work being done to bring awareness to this important cause by our Affiliates, partners and fellow Lifesaving Society Branches from across the country.

What is your community doing to bring attention to National Drowning Prevention Week? Share your photos, events and activities with us on social media by tagging @LifesavingBCYK and #NDPW2016 and we will feature them in an upcoming edition of the Lifeliner!
The WaterWise Team has already reached thousands on social media with their great NDPW video on BC drowning statistics.

Public Education

Swim to Survive Day comes to Vancouver for #NDPW2016

During National Drowning Prevention Week 2016, the Lifesaving Society is partnering with the Vancouver Park Board and Lifeguard Outreach Society to offer Swim to Survive to 600 Vancouver youth at no charge on Friday, July 22 at iconic Kitsilano Pool.
Swim to Survive is a Lifesaving Society program offered across Canada that provides basic training in three essential skills needed to survive an unexpected fall into deep water. Swim to Survive is not a replacement for swimming lessons, but an important key step to being safe around water.
It is estimated that half of Canadian children never take formal swimming lessons. If every child could pass the Swim to Survive standard, it could reduce the number of drownings by half. Last year in BC, there were 65 drowning deaths many of them youth and young adults. Drowning remains the second leading cause of preventable death in Canada. Swim to Survive teaches Water Smart behaviours in time for young people to make better choices around water.
This all-day safety program will be available at no cost to youth ages seven to 18 with age-appropriate sessions running in two hour blocks, start times at 9 am, 11:30 am and 2 pm at Kitsilano Pool.
“The expansion of aquatic facilities and services in Vancouver is a top priority for this Board,” says Park Board Chair Sarah Kirby-Yung. “Our support for Swim to Survive demonstrates our commitment to equip youth with the skills to safely enjoy our wonderful pools and beaches.”
Swim to Survive Vancouver is an extension of the Park Board’s commitment to aquatic education for our residents. For the past five years, the Board has partnered with approximately 60 Vancouver schools to offer the free program to grade three students and is actively working to expand the program to additional schools.
To register for the Swim to Survive day in Vancouver, please visit There is space for 600, so register now to reserve your child’s spot!
“This event will provide hundreds of children, youth and adults with some basic awareness and lifesaving skills that will someday save a life, their own or that of a loved one," says Dale Miller, Executive Director of the Lifesaving Society's BC & Yukon Branch. "Our objective is to prevent drowning and Swim to Survive training will certainly help to decrease the number of water-related tragedies in BC,”


Vancouver to Host International Aquatics Conference

In 15 months, Vancouver will be the centre of the world for drowning preventions experts.  Don't miss your chance to attend an international conference in your field of work within your own province! 

The World Conference on Drowning Prevention (WCDP) is sanctioned by the International Life Saving Federation (ILS) as their flagship event for gathering the world's experts in water safety education, research, prevention and best practices.

With the World Health Organization's recent global focus on drowning prevention, the Vancouver conference will be a milestone event in helping to address this critical public health issue.  Held every two years, this conference has never been held in the Americas with the most recent versions being hosted in Malaysia (2015) and Germany (2017).

BC Recreation & Parks Association is excited to have the opportunity to merge their Ripple Effects aquatics conference with WCDP 2017 giving BC aquatics professionals double the educational value and a chance to see how the rest of the world addresses aquatic issues.

Budget now for your participation; conference fees will be $500 for WCDP and a preferential rate for both WCDP & Ripple Effects.  Both conferences will be held at the Westin Bayshore Hotel in downtown Vancouver between October 16 and 19.  Sign up at to keep up to date on information.

Public Education

WaterWise Team Reaches over 4000 Students

The WaterWise Team completed their WaterWise Wisdom school presentations and are happy to announce that they reached over 4,000 elementary and middle school students, spreading their message about boat and water safety.

The Team traveled across the province visiting the Lower Mainland, the Okanagan and Vancouver Island. To further reinforce the water safety messages, students were encouraged to participate in the Team's "Caught You Sharing It" contest in which classes created posters about something they had learned. The posters submitted by classrooms were displayed within the school and featured on the Team's social media. 
Now that school is out for the summer, the WaterWise Team will be on the move, bringing their boating and water safety knowledge to community events, summer camps and boat launches. If you would be interested in having the WaterWise Team present or set up a booth at your event please contact them at

You can also find the Team on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @WaterWiseTeam. Connect with them to learn more about safety on a boat and around the water this summer.

Swim to Survive

TELUS Community Action Team Supports Swim to Survive+ in North

We are pleased to announce that TELUS has come on board as a new funding partner for the Swim to Survive+ Program.

On Friday May 13th in Prince George, the TELUS BC North Community Action Team presented the Lifesaving Society with a cheque for $2000 to help support the Swim to Survive+ program for Grade 7 students in the region. (Pictured above L-R Jennifer Fulljames, TELUS Operations Manager and Customer Service, Brooke Cherfils, Lifesaving Society Education Director and Lance MacDonald, TELUS GM of Northern BC.)

Since 2000, TELUS has contributed $440 million to charitable organizations and volunteered 6.8 million hours of service in local communities, making a significant impact across the country. We look forward to working together with them on future drowning prevention initiatives.


Barnsley Registration Now Open

The Lifesaving Society BC & Yukon Branch organizes the Barnsley BC & Yukon Lifeguard Championship annually to providing lifeguards with an opportunity to test their skills in fair and challenging environment.  Participants in the competition have the opportunity to learn new techniques, share ideas and practice their lifeguarding skills with lifeguards from across BC & Yukon. All competitors and athletes, whether new to the sport or seasoned veterans, benefit from these competitions.

The Barnsley BC & Yukon Lifeguard Championship also provides the public with an opportunity to watch and understand the many skills needed to effectively train lifeguards. As the standard setting agency for lifeguards and lifesavers, the Lifesaving Society organizes competitions to promote an appreciation of lifeguards as dedicated professionals.

The Pool Lifeguard Championship consists of four technical events & two fitness events

  • Pool Simulations
  • First Aid
  • Priority Assessment
  • Individual First Aid
  • Fitness #1: 4x50m Barnsley Relay
  • Fitness #2: 4x25m Mannequin Relay

Registration is now open can be done through our website here. If you are looking to join a team or connect with other competitors join the BC Lifeguard Competitions Facebook Page.


Professional Development

Surrey Launches Lifeguard Development School

Lifeguard Development School (LDS) is a new professional development program offered by the City of Surrey that has been specifically developed for aquatic professionals. The program is grouped into four themes that are integral to every aquatic professional’s skillset. These themes are; Leadership & Communication, First Aid, Fitness & Training, and Instruction.
The vison for LDS is to create an environment where all aquatic professionals can grow and develop regardless of experience level, whether a Head Lifeguard or a candidate currently enrolled in the National Lifeguard course. The program helps to increase and promote professionalism in aquatic professionals in the context of the City of Surrey’s Values (Community, Innovation, Integrity, Service, and Teamwork).
LDS was developed to allow experienced aquatic professionals to challenge and develop their skills while interacting and sharing knowledge with young professionals looking to break into the industry. The content challenges individuals to examine their strengths and weaknesses while maintaining a fun environment that promotes personal and professional development.
Each session of LDS focuses on one of the themes, for example, in the Leadership & Communication theme, participants explore the driving factors behind a rewarding lifeguarding career through personal values as well as communication skills that apply to interview settings.

Sessions are offered twice a month with upcoming topics including:
Leadership & Communication: Conflict Resolution, Difficult PRs, Goal Setting, Interview Preparation
First Aid: Secondary Survey Challenges, Spinal Management, Working with Conscious Patients, Patients and their Medications, Fractures/Sprains/Strains
Fitness & Training: Guard Comp Preparation, Lifeguard Endurance, Rescue Speed and Strength, Scanning and Standards,
Instruction: Special Needs, Adult Instruction, Parented Lessons, Stroke Error Recognition and Correction, Teaching Multiple Levels, Making Water Safety Fun!

To learn more please contact:
Yu-Ching Cheng, City of Surrey Community Services Coordinator
Is there an exciting lifesaving program or initiative happening at your facility or in your community? If so, we would love to feature it in an upcoming edition of the Lifeliner. Contact Krystyna Domes for more information.

Public Education

Lifeguard Outreach Society Heads North

The summer season for the Lifeguard Outreach Society started off with a successful visit to the Nootka Sound area where they visited the communities of Tahsis, Esperenza, and Kyuquot. Volunteers traveled over 250 kilometers on dirt access roads to reach some of the most remote communities in BC while crossing the width of Vancouver Island multiple times. 

To reach Kyuquot, their most Northern destination, they were ferried across Nootka Sound in a small fishing boat. There, the Swim to Survive volunteers enjoyed many meals of elk, herring roe, halibut, and chummis, and were honoured to be guests at a Potlatch ceremony celebrating the lives of two elders of the communities.Teaching in the ocean was not as cold as might be expected and the kids were far more durable than the instructors; they swim for fun across the bay year-round.

The passion and dedication by the Society’s instructors is key to promoting Swim to Survive across BC. As the summer progresses LGOS is excited to continue to offer more events in areas such as Quadra Island, Northern BC locations, as well as returning to the Kootenay Boundary communities and the Gulf Islands.

The team was also honoured to be invited to the Nisga’a Nation to teach 60 young people at a youth leadership conference in Northern BC.  Nisga’a Nation is 100 km north of Terrace and is the furthest north the LGOS has traveled.

The Lifeguard Outreach Society will be hosting Swim to Survive Day Vancouver on July 22 with the BC & Yukon Lifesaving Society and City of Vancouver Park Board at the Kitsilano Outdoor Pool.  The event will promote Swim to Survive in Vancouver as well as attract more volunteers to the program. Also in July LGOS will be running their first adapted Swim to Survive set of lessons in Cultus Lake; we hope to make the delivery of Swim to Survive in rural communities more accessible to people of all ability levels.

Lifesaving Sport

Calgary Winter Club wins CPLC Club Banner

The Calgary Winter Club Tsunamis took home another national pool lifesaving championship banner after competing in the 2016 Canadian Pool Lifesaving Championships, held at the Kinsmen Sports Centre in Edmonton on May 14 & 15.

Tsunami athletes earned 1,094.5 points in their swims at the championships, which featured 126 athletes from 17 clubs with representation from almost every Canadian province.

The 2016 CPLCs were one of the final events where athletes could post results that would be considered for those with interest in being invited to join Team Canada for the Rescue 2016 – World Lifesaving Championships to be held in the Netherlands in September; and, the 2016 German and Orange cup representative teams that will compete later in the fall in Warendorf, Germany and Eindhoven, Netherlands. (for more info go to


Lifesaving Society Canada AGM

The Lifesaving Society National Annual General Meeting took place on May 28th, 2016 in Edmonton, Alberta. At the AGM on May 28th, Rob Campbell was sworn in as the new President of the National Board, replacing outgoing President Yanick Graveline.  We would like to take this opportunity to thank Yanick for his service and to welcome Rob in his new role. The new National Board, pictured above, includes BC & Yukon President Heidi Ogilvie (fifth from right).
At the meeting, Tannis Nostedt(L) and Shelley Dalke(R) from the Canadian Red Cross presented a Certificate of Recognition in celebration of the Royal Lifesaving Society providing 125 years of excellence in prevention of drowning throughout the Commonwealth to incoming National President Rob Campbell.

Yanick Graveline presented Lifesaving Society BC & Yukon Branch Executive Director and Interim National Executive Director Dale Miller with the President's Award.
"I am pleased to present Dale Miller with the President’s Award for his exceptional service this past year on behalf of the National organization.
In addition to managing the BC & Yukon Branch, the Canadian Drowning Prevention Coalition and preparing for WCDP 2017, Dale has acted in the capacity of interim National Executive Director where he established strong working ties with the Branches while keeping the national perspective firmly in sight.
His dedication of time and energy has assisted the national organization in continuing to function in absence of a full-time Executive Director and I want to recognize him for his unwavering dedication to the Society." - Yanick Graveline, Lifesaving Society Canada National President


RLSS Commonwealth 125th Anniversary

The year 2016 marks the 125th anniversary of the founding of the Royal Life Saving Society in England.  Over those years the Society and its drowning prevention cause have expanded across the Commonwealth and are now firmly established in 27 countries including Canada.

As part of the recent Lifesaving Society Canada national meetings held in Edmonton, the Alberta/Northwest Territories Branch hosted a gala dinner to celebrate the RLSS anniversary.  Representing the Queen was the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, the Honourable Lois Mitchell who congratulated Lifesaving Society Canada on their contribution to drowning prevention.
BC & Yukon representatives at the Gala celebrated 125 years of Commonwealth drowning prevention and committed to continued support of Swim to Survive training. (l-r: Dale Miller, Branch Executive Director; Jason Blood, Branch Vice-President; Heidi Ogilvie, Branch President & National Board Member; Wendy Schultenkamper, National Technical Manager; Michael Lawless, Branch Past President)


Calendar of Events

National Drowning Prevention Week (NDPW)
July 17-23, 2016
Canada Wide

Surrey Lifeguard Competition
July 23, 2016
Bear Creek Outdoor Pool & Guildford Recreation Centre, Surrey
First Aid Instructor Course
July 30, 31 & August 7, 8, 2016
Lifesaving Society BC & Yukon Branch
Langley Lifeguard Competition
August 13, 2016
Walnut Grove Community Centre, Langley
80th Annual Barnsley Branch Lifeguard Championship
August 19 & 20, 2016
Saanich Commonwealth Place, Victoria
First Aid Instructor Course
August 27 & 28, 2016
Lifesaving Society BC & Yukon Branch
ILS World Conference on Drowning Prevention 2017
October 17-19, 2017
Vancouver, British Columbia
Copyright © 2016 Lifesaving Society BC & Yukon, All rights reserved.

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