Be Water Smart – Another Healthy Choice

YELLOWKNIFE (July 21, 2014) – National Drowning Prevention Week is July 19-27. People living in and visiting the NWT are encouraged to “be Water Smart” while enjoying activities in, on or around our rivers, lakes and oceans.

Minister of Health and Social Services Glen Abernethy recognizes that although there has been some decrease in the number of water-related fatalities in the NWT, there must be a greater awareness of measures that can be taken to help prevent drowning. “We must continue to educate NWT residents and visitors that drowning can be prevented. If we make positive choices we can reduce the number of people lost to drowning,” said Minister Abernethy.

While water-related fatalities fell from 12.1 per 100, 000 in 2002-2007 to 6.9 in 2007-2011, this number remains much higher than the national average; something which can be changed.  Smart practices include wearing lifejackets, never swimming alone, knowing the weather and water conditions, advising others of your plans before heading out and never consuming drugs and alcohol while boating.

“Parents and caregivers of children play a key role in drowning prevention, as they can help teach safety and smart practices in the water,” says the Minister. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to actively supervise children – keep watch and be within arms’ reach in, around or on water.

“As adults we must also recognize that we are all prone to drowning if we do not practice water safety,” added Minister Abernethy.

For more information on being water smart please visit

NWT Water Smart and the Drowning Prevention Action Plan are initiatives of the Healthy Choices Framework, a Government of the Northwest Territories program to promote health and safety through appropriate choices. Healthy Choices supports the goal of the 17th Assembly for safe communities and the priority of investing in prevention, education, and awareness.

For more information:
Damien Healy
Manager Planning and Communications|
Department of Health and Social Services
Tel: (867) 920-8927