Summer is here, and that means people will be heading to lakes, swimming holes, and pools across the Natural State for fun on or in the water. Here are some tips to help you and your family make sure your outings are not only fun but safe.
If your plans include boating, life jackets are a must. In 2017, 76% of boating deaths in the U.S. were from drowning, and 84% of the victims were not wearing life jackets, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. Make sure everyone in your group has a Coast Guard-approved life jacket that fits correctly and is properly fastened before you leave the dock.
The National Safe Boating Council recommends taking a National Association of State Boating Law Administrators-approved boating safety course. Many courses are available online.
Vessel safety checks are available for free from the local U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadrons. Learn the rules of navigation, become familiar with state laws on boating, wear sunscreen, watch for potential bad weather, drink plenty of water, and don’t drink alcohol and drive a boat.
Swimming is great exercise, but it’s important to stay safe in the water. The American Red Cross has a list of recommendations, including:
- 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.
- Avoid distractions when supervising children around water.
- Protect your skin.
Before swimming in a public pool, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you check the pool’s inspection score. Look for the score online or at the pool. You can also do your own mini-inspection to check for disinfectant and pH levels; test strips are available at most superstores, hardware stores, and pool supply stores.