Water & ice safety

If you or someone you know is in danger on a waterway, call 9-1-1 and have your location ready.

Each year, the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service (WFPS) responds to over 150 calls for people who need help on rivers, waterways or in swimming pools.

Current information about Winnipeg waterways

Remember these tips to keep you and your loved ones safe:


  • During spring and fall, stay away from all rivers, streams, culverts, retention ponds, ditches, and anywhere water collects. Ice on the surface may appear thick but could actually be uneven, causing a person to fall through into cold water.
  • If you fall into a partially frozen waterway, it can be hard to get out by yourself because you could get trapped or pulled underneath by river currents. Hypothermia can set in.
  • Parents should remind their children to stay away from waterways and pet owners should keep their pets leashed to prevent them from chasing something onto thin ice.

Retention ponds are a feature in some neighbourhoods. Learn more about how to stay safe near retention ponds.

Boating safety

  • In warmer months, when boating or taking part in activities on a river, always wear a life jacket.
  • Keep an eye on weather conditions like wind direction and speed or sudden storms that can make it harder to control boats, kayaks, or canoes. Challenging weather also makes it harder for first responders to get to you and rescue you if needed.
  • Never operate a boat while under the influence of any substance, including alcohol, cannabis, or other drugs.
  • Follow all regulations that require standardized safety equipment on board your boat. For more information see Transport Canada’s Office of Boating Safety.

Swimming pools

  • Swim with a buddy, if possible. Having another person nearby to call for help can ensure responders get to you faster, if needed.
  • Supervise children. Stay within an arm’s reach and do not get distracted. Children under the age of five have a higher risk of drowning because they are quick, curious, and least likely to self-rescue of any age group.
  • Enter a pool feet-first to protect your neck from injury.
  • Do not swim or take part in activities near pools while under the influence of alcohol, cannabis, or any other substance.

Everyone should consider taking swimming lessons. The City of Winnipeg offers swimming lessons for all ages. We also offer a fee subsidy program for those who qualify.

Water safety videos

Follow these tips to stay safe around water this summer! Videos are available in English, French, Punjabi, Tagalog, and Arabic.

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