Markham (Ontario), May 16, 2022 – With summertime inching nearer, many Canadians will be using the upcoming long weekend to reopen their cottages and pools. However, a recent survey commissioned by Allstate Insurance Company of Canada (“Allstate”) suggests pandemic restrictions due to COVID-19 may have negatively impacted the swimming and water safety skills of many Canadians. The survey also revealed that nearly three quarters of respondents who rent out their cottages do not fully understand their insurance liability coverage. Allstate is partnering with the Lifesaving Society for the fourth consecutive year to provide water safety advice to Canadians who decide to spend their time near water this summer.
The Léger survey showed that 57% of Canadian respondents plan to spend time near water this summer. Of those, 31% said they plan to be near water at a rented cottage or one owned by family or friends. Respondents 18-34 years of age (65%) and households with children (78%) are proportionally more likely to plan for time near water, according to the survey.
While cooling off in the water sounds appealing to many, the survey data also reveals that swimming skills and water safety techniques could be lagging. For almost a third of Canadian respondents (30%), the pandemic has negatively impacted their time spent reinforcing and learning about water safety due to fewer opportunities to swim, cancelled or missed swimming lessons, or a pause in learning lifesaving techniques and training.
According to the Lifesaving Society’s 2020 Drowning Report, 70% of the drownings in Canada occurred in natural bodies of water. These numbers highlight the need for more education and public awareness of water safety, particularly this summer when so many families are planning to spend time near water.
“There are significant risks involved in a waterfront property, especially if it’s still very new to you,’’ says Wendy Schultenkamper, Director of Operations at Lifesaving Society Canada. ‘‘Spring, especially the long weekend in May, when many people are reopening their cottage for the season, is a critical moment for drowning. Dangers and risks associated with water are always present, so it’s crucial to set clear rules for everyone to follow. All in all, water safety requires constant re-education."
According to a report by RE/MAX, 11% of Canadians were searching for a recreational property prior to the start of the pandemic and are still searching, and 15% of Canadians who were not searching for a recreational property prior to the pandemic are now looking. Additionally, 54% of those who were planning to purchase a recreational property in the next year are first-time recreational property buyers.
‘‘For many, it can be a dream to own a property with access to water, and some owners may feel they need to rent it out to cover unexpected costs or to generate extra income, but with that choice comes the responsibility to provide a safe as well as enjoyable environment,” says Gene Myles, Agency Manager at Allstate. According to the Léger survey, among respondents who own a cottage and rent it out, over half (53%) are only somewhat familiar with their insurance liability coverage and 21% are not familiar with it at all. Among respondents who rent out their backyard pool, more than half of them (58%) are somewhat familiar with their insurance liability coverage and 18% of them are not familiar.
“It is very important for Canadians to speak with an insurance agent to ensure they have the appropriate coverage before they choose to rent their property,” Myles adds. “For instance, in some provinces they may require an endorsement added to a policy, in other regions, they may require an increase in their liability coverage.”
Water Safety Tips
Here are some best practices for water safety from the Lifesaving Society to help protect you and your loved ones.
For cottage and pool owners:
- Restrict access to water when unsupervised – If there is no one designated to supervise swimmers, it's best not to take any chances. Make sure you always follow safety guidelines and maintain control over access to the pool or natural bodies of water, such as lakes, rivers, spas and even wading pools.
- Properly communicate rental rules – To protect yourself and renters, provide a list of rules that include measures to limit access to water equipment.
- Avoid venturing into unfamiliar bodies of water – Some waterways may look harmless, but powerful springtime currents in rivers, for example, can surprise even the most experienced swimmers.
- Do not use a watercraft unless you are experienced and certified – If you are operating a powered water vessel, you should have your Pleasure Craft Operator (PCO) card.
- Basic safety rules still apply when renting a cottage – For example, wear your life jacket on watercraft, stay sober when boating, have a designated lifeguard and learn how to swim.
For more tips on how to enjoy water safely, go to the GOOD HANDS® blog at https://blog.allstate.ca/summer-plans-water-safety/.
About the Léger survey
Léger was commissioned by Allstate to conduct a survey among Canadians to find out their plans for the summer regarding spending time near the water, as well as their knowledge of their insurance liability coverage for different situations. To meet research objectives, a web survey was conducted April 8-11, 2022, among a sample of 1,538 Canadians, aged 18 and over, who could speak English or French. To ensure a representative sample of the population, the results were weighted according to the gender, age, mother tongue, province, education and the presence of children in the household.
About the Lifesaving Society Canada
The Lifesaving Society is a national, independent, charitable organization that works to prevent drowning and water-related injury through its training programs, Water Smart® public education, aquatic safety management services, drowning research and lifesaving sport.
The Society represents Canada internationally in the Commonwealth Royal Life Saving Society and we are Canada’s Full Member in the International Life Saving Federation. We are the governing body for lifesaving sport – a sport recognized by the International Olympic Committee and the Commonwealth Games Federation.
About Allstate Insurance Company of Canada
Allstate Insurance Company of Canada is a leading home and auto insurer focused on providing its customers prevention and protection products and services for every stage of life. Serving Canadians since 1953, Allstate strives to reassure both customers and employees with its "You’re in Good Hands®" promise and is proud to have been named a Best Employer in Canada for nine consecutive years. Allstate is committed to making a positive difference in the communities in which it operates through partnerships with charitable organizations, employee giving and volunteerism. To learn more, visit www.allstate.ca. For safety tips and advice, visit www.goodhandsadvice.ca
For more information, please contact:
Capital-Image on behalf of Allstate
Director of Operations
Lifesaving Society Canada