Swimming and boating are fun summer pastimes, but don’t forget to stay safe so this summer will be a happy one to remember. According to the Centers for Disease Control about one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger. For every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries.
The American Red Cross provides the following Swimming Safety tips:
- Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
- Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone.
- Never leave a young child unattended near water and do not trust a child’s life to another child; teach children to always ask permission to go near water.
- Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.
- Maintain constant supervision.
- Make sure everyone in your family learns to swim well. Enroll in age-appropriate Red Cross water orientation and learn-to-swim courses.
- If you have a pool, secure it with appropriate barriers. Many children who drown in home pools were out of sight for less than five minutes and in the care of one or both parents at the time.
- Avoid distractions when supervising children around water.
- If a child is missing, check the water first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability.
- Have appropriate equipment, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, life jackets and a first aid kit.
- Know how and when to call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
- Enroll in Red Cross home pool safety, water safety, first aid and CPR/AED courses to learn how to prevent and respond to emergencies.
- Protect your skin. Limit the amount of direct sunlight you receive between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. and wear sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15.
- Drink plenty of water regularly, even if you’re not thirsty. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine in them.
Discover Boating provides the following Safe Boating tips:
- Always check local weather conditions before departure.
- Follow a Pre-Departure Checklist to make sure no boating safety rules or precautions have been overlooked or forgotten.
- Use common sense; operate at a safe speed at all times, stay alert at all times and be respectful of buoys and other navigational aids.
- Make sure more than one person on board is familiar with all aspects of your boat’s handling, operations, and general boating safety.
- Always be sure to let someone else know your float plan. This should include where you’re going and how long you’re going to be gone.
- Make proper use of lifejackets. Assign and fit each member of your onboard crew with a life jacket prior to departure. Wear it!
- Avoid alcohol. The probability of being involved in a boating accident doubles when alcohol is involved and studies have shown that the effects of alcohol are exacerbated by sun and wind.
- If you’re going to be in and around the water, proper boating safety includes knowing how to swim.
- Beginning boaters and experienced experts alike need to be familiar with the boating safety rules of operation. Boater education requirements vary by state; however, some require validated completion of at least one boating safety course.
- Take advantage of a free vessel safety check from the US Coast Guard. They offer complimentary boat examinations to verify the presence and condition of certain safety equipment required by state and federal regulations.
How does your family stay safe while swimming and boating?