Summer is fast approaching, thus so is the time you’ll spend outside bathing in the sunshine on your pool deck, lakeside, or on the beach. Inevitably you’ll get too warm, and you’ll jump into your respective body of water for a quick dip. This increased time spent in close proximity to water unfortunately also heightens your risk of water related injuries. The following is an incomprehensive list of pointers to keep in mind while you enjoy the water this summer.
Commit to Water Safety
Wherever you are–swimming in a body of water, a pool or cruising on a boat– don’t skip the rules in place. Know them, review them with your friends and children if you have any, make sure any questions are cleared up before you get near the water.
- Swim only in designated safe areas.
- Use the buddy system–no one goes anywhere alone while near water.
- If you have children do not leave them alone or let them wander off. Young children especially require diligent supervision.
- Wear life jackets. If you’re on a boat, everyone should buckle up into one. Your very young children would do well to wear them near any body of water, especially if they are inexperienced swimmers–water wings are only for training exercises and children who are nearly comfortable swimming without water wings.
- Know the weather conditions around bodies of water–is there a high tide or a rip current to worry about on the lake or the beach? Check the weather before you head out for a boat ride.
- Stay away from alcohol.
Prevent Unsafe Access to Water
This applies especially if you have pool or beach access–create something barring entry and you’ll keep out not only your own kids but any random strangers that may be trying to enter as well.
- Install barriers on pools or hot tubs.
- Make sure your pool has a fence that stretches all the way around it.
- Fix a lock on the gate, or a difficult to open latch that is high enough off the ground to prevent young children from easy access.
- Move anything that can be used to gain access–furniture, sheds, etc.
If You’re Boating–Maintain a Properly Functioning Vessel
Get your boat inspected; the US Coast Guard has a free vessel safety check, and you should take advantage of it. Additionally, their website has online safety checklists you can run through. Keep life jackets, blankets, additional emergency flotation devices, and a waterproof communication device on board at all times.
Know what to do in Case of Emergency
What are a few things that can go wrong? Designate someone on board to be your skipper, or your right hand, and divvy up responsibilities. What happens in the event of bad weather? Or if the boat were to hit debris that broke the motor, or punctured the side of the vessel? Talk through scenarios, and you’ll greatly avoid panic when the time comes.
Many local community centers, gyms, and even schools offer CPR courses. Sign up for a coarse. CPR dramatically reduces the chances of death, and is unbelievably useful to know for a variety of different scenarios.
Yes, these activities are all supposed to be fun. But enjoying yourself near water will be so much easier after you’ve taken steps to ensure it is fun, and not dangerous.