Summertime means time out on and in the water at a lake, river, or ocean. These are all popular getaway destinations for families during this time of year. Open water however, while a great way to cool off when the temperatures rise, comes with some significant risk.
Open water, unlike a swimming pool, has conditions that are uncontrollable and unforeseeable. The water can be flat like glass or choppy due to wind, extremely warm or extremely cold, packed with other swimmers and boats or completely empty and quiet. These are all conditions that increase the risk when working or enjoying some time on the water.
When around or in open water, be sure to follow these tips provided by the National Drowning Prevention Alliance:
- Wear US Coast Guard approved life vests
- Ensure you know how to swim
- Never swim alone
- Swim in designated swimming areas
- When something doesn’t feel right, don’t hesitate to get out of the water
- Know the conditions (temp and weather)
- Choose the right equipment (wetsuits, goggles, etc.)
- Understand currents
- Don’t drink alcohol
- Have a plan for emergencies
Whether you are working or relaxing on the water, being aware of conditions is the most important thing you can do. Awareness, and following the tips above, can ensure that your time spent on or in the water is as safe and fun as can be.
Follow the below links for more water safety information:
- National Drowning Safety Alliance – https://ndpa.org/
- Water Safety USA – https://www.watersafetyusa.org/
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Healthy Swimming – https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/index.html