With more than 100,000 lakes, swimming and wading on beaches is an important activity for the 5 million annual visitors to Manitoba’s 17 provincial parks. Statistically, there have been 32 swimming-related deaths in Manitoba parks in the past 20 years.
By establishing province-wide standards for Beach Safety within provincial parks, Manitoba Conservation has taken an important and proactive step to help prevent further drownings.
Design for Public Safety
Drownings are a fact of life, and more than a half million people worldwide die as a result of drowning each year. While personal safety is ultimately the responsibility of the individual, many drownings are preventable.
In this regard, clear information regarding Beach Safety and conditions of beach usage play an important part in preventing drownings and in contributing to the well-being and enjoyment of the public. Manitoba Conservation (the department responsible for Manitoba Parks) now promotes Beach Safety in provincial parks by means of consistent messaging on all beach signage and clear, consistent written information in brochures for general dissemination and for distribution to park visitors.
Responding to the expressed goal of preventing drownings, Circle undertook an extensive audit of compiled literature and information resources, reviewed best-practice examples of Beach Safety signs from around the world, prepared a comprehensive report, and then designed a cohesive set of Beach Safety icons and signage templates. This was followed up by the design of informative, bi-lingual, Beach Safety literature for both individual and group users of Manitoba’s provincial park beaches.
Following the initial design project in 2003, Circle was again engaged in 2009 to incorporate international standards (ISO) for Beach Safety pictograms and signage (which did not exist until 2008). Changes to the program included converting all Caution/Hazard signs to a triangular shape, standardization of all Prohibition signs, and addition of a new beach safety status flag.