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Each year when spring arrives, paddlers start to return to training on Canadian waters. Informed paddlers and sound safety practices have been key factors in maintaining a good safety record at SPC. Your diligence in following the code of safety will help to prevent tragedies. Please take a few moments to review the water safety procedures. 

Paddler Checklist

Every paddler must abide by Transport Canada's safe boating guidelines found HERE  and have the following safety equipment on board:

  • 1 Lifejacket/PFD​ or must be able to swim at the level of the Canadian Red Cross “Swim Kids Level 6” 

  • 1 Bouyant Heaving Line (at least 15m)

  • 1 Bailer

  • 1 Sound Signaling device (ie. whistle)​​


Cold Water Safety

When water temperatures are below 8 degrees Celsius all Participants engaged in an on-water activity must:

a) Wear a Government of Canada approved PFD at all times;

b) Wear clothing appropriate for the weather and water conditions

c) Train as close to shore as possible

d) Train with a partner

Current Lake Ontario temperatures can be found HERE

Thunder/Lightning and On-water Conditions

The key to staying safe is to prepare and to have an emergency plan in place. Pay attention to weather warnings. Thunderstorms are tracked before they occur. Visit Environment Canada for up-to-date information on thunderstorm conditions, storm maps, and weather warnings. Weather conditions can be found HERE

  • When thunder roars, go indoors! During a thunderstorm, immediately seek shelter or a safe place to wait out the storm. Watch for signs of a storm, like darkening skies, lightning flashes or increasing wind.

  • the 30/30 rule will be implemented: ie. move to the shore and seek shelter once you count 30 seconds or fewer between seeing lightning and hearing thunder. Remain sheltered for 30 minutes after the last thunder 

  • You may resume activity only when 30 minutes have passed without seeing lightning or hearing thunder

Toronto weather alerts and statements can be found HERE

Water Quality

Toronto has some of the best beaches in the world, which is verified by the internationally recognized Blue Flag Program. From June to September (Labour Day), the City of Toronto’s Parks, Forestry & Recreation division collects daily water samples from supervised beaches across the city to be tested for Escherichia coli (E.coli) bacteria. When E.coli levels are unsafe, Toronto Public Health (TPH) posts warning signs against swimming.

Recreational water quality standards for activities can be classified as either Primary Contact or Secondary Contact. Primary contact means you are putting your whole head underwater, like when you swim, dive or surf. Secondary contact means that you are near the water, like when you paddle, sail or fish. Standards for primary contact are stricter due to risk of swallowing some of the lake.

Paddling would be considered a secondary contact activity. However, there are times in which we do get submerged, either from a huli or just falling off the craft. Below are standards for both Primary and Secondary contact E. Coli levels established by “Guidelines for Canadian Recreational Water Quality: Third Edition”.

                Primary Contact: ≤ 200 E. coli /100 mL

                Secondary Contact: ≤ 1000 E. coli/100 mL

Please be aware of the current beach E. Coli before heading out on the water. E.coli levels at Sunnyside Beach can be found HERE.


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