Just as Manitobans head out to enjoy a free weekend at provincial parks, experts across the country are urging them to be vigilant around water.

July 21 is the first day of National Drowning Prevention Week, and life guards and water patrol members are out in full force.

“We always have patrollers walking up and down the sand in pairs,” said Lindsay Edie, a senior patroller at Grand Beach. Patrollers keep an especially close eye on children, ensuring their nearby the parents, Edie said.

And the patrollers aren’t alone. Starting Saturday representatives from the Lifesaving Society joined them.

“Today, at Grand Beach, we’re handing out brochures, but also making sure kids are within arm’s reach,” said Jon Sorokowski of the Livesaving Society.

Sorokowski said the third week in July often sees the highest number of drowning deaths and with unseasonably high temperatures, more people are playing in or near water.

In the last three years, 38 Manitobans drowned.

On Monday, 11-year-old Becky Waldner’s body was pulled from the Assiniboine River near Poplar Point. She had been playing with friends in the water when a current pulled her underwater.

To help prevent such tragedies, Sorokowski advises parents to keep a close eye on their kids and always use flotation devices.

Boaters are advised to keep life-saving devices on board and to let others know where they’re going and when they will return.