Few things compare to spending a summer day in the water. Whether it’s a trip to the beach, a lake, or your local pool, it can be an excellent opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors and create lasting memories with loved ones. However, no matter what body of water you plan to visit, it’s vital to practice proper water safety. Use these tips to have a safe time in, on, and around water.
Knowing how to perform CPR properly is crucial to helping someone recover from a water-related accident. Pledge to get CPR certified before heading to the water with friends and family this summer. You can find CPR classes in your area through the American Red Cross and the American Heart Association. Additionally, check with your local fire department to see if they offer CPR classes.
Practice safe swimming habits
Before you jump into the water for a fun day of swimming, you should make sure you and your loved ones know how to practice safe swimming habits. You should only swim where others are present. If safety signs are posted, read and follow the instructions; this is especially important for designated swimming areas in open water like beaches or lakes. Never leave children unsupervised in the water, and stay within arm’s reach of young swimmers. Plan to discuss safety rules with kids, including where they can swim and how far out they can go. Whenever you go swimming, keep your cell phone handy in case of an emergency. Finally, keep an eye on the weather during your time in the water, and stop swimming at the first sign of a storm.
Utilize at-home pool safety
If you own a pool, make sure to follow these safety measures:
- Keep a first-aid kit and rescue equipment poolside.
- Enter the pool feet first.
- Confirm you have a clear view of the entire pool from inside your house.
- Install a fence or wall around the pool that’s at least five feet high.
- Make sure gate handles are not accessible to children, and install a gate alarm.
- Avoid propping open the gate to your swimming area.
- Keep electronic devices away from your pool.
- Remove pool toys from the water when you’re finished swimming.
- Follow all manufacturer’s directions when installing and using a pool cover.
- Store sanitation chemicals carefully.
- Avoid eating and drinking near the pool.
Wear a life jacket
One of the most important safety items you can have on the water is a life jacket. While they are a must for inexperienced swimmers, adults with strong swimming skills should also wear them when enjoying activities like paddle sports and boating. If you encounter a water hazard or fall in the water, you may not have time to put a life jacket on. There are specific vests for every water activity, such as kayaking, water skiing, and fishing. However, no matter what style jacket you use, ensure it is approved by the United States Coast Guard. Before putting your life jacket on, perform a safety check for any damage—you should never wear a life jacket with rips or tears. You should also make sure your life jacket fits properly, as ill-fitting jackets offer little protection. A life jacket that is too big will ride up over your head in the water, and one that is too small won’t be able to keep you afloat. A properly-fitting life jacket will be snug but won’t hinder your movement. To test the fit of a life jacket:
- Fasten all the straps, zippers, and buckles.
- Hold your arms over your head.
- Have a friend or family member gently pull on the shoulder straps.
- Ensure the jacket doesn’t ride up over your chin or face. If it does, it is too big.
Practice boat safety
If you enjoy spending time on the water on a boat, you still need to practice safe habits. While boating can be relaxing, you should avoid consuming alcohol. It will impact your ability to drive the vessel and hinder your swimming ability if you fall in the water or need to help someone else. Before you ship out, make sure a friend or family member knows the details of your day, and stay alert to the water conditions and weather forecast. You may want to have a radio on board to receive weather updates. Everyone on your boat should have a life jacket, and you should have a throwable device, such as a life ring or floatable cushion. Other safety instruments you should stock your boat with include:
- Fire extinguisher
- Sound-producing device
- Visual distress signal
- Tool kit
- First-aid kit
By following these tips, you can make sure you stay safe and sound as you float off to relaxation.