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Water Safety
Make Water Safety Your Priority
  • Swim in designated areas and be familiar with your surroundings.
  • Use the buddy system, even at a public pool or a lifeguarded beach.
  • Even if you do not plan on swimming, be cautious around natural bodies of water; cold temperatures, currents and underwater hazards can make a fall into these bodies of water dangerous.
  • If you go boating, wear a life jacket! Most boating fatalities occur from drowning.
  • Avoid alcohol use. Alcohol impairs judgment, balance and coordination; affects swimming and diving skills; and reduces the body’s ability to stay warm.
  • While you’re enjoying the water, keep alert and check the local weather conditions.
  • Actively supervise children whenever around the water, even if lifeguards are present.
  • Always stay within arm’s reach of young children and avoid distractions when supervising children around water.
  • 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.

Pool Safety
  • Install and use barriers around your home pool or hot tub. Safety covers and pool alarms can be added as additional layers of protection.
  • Ensure that pool barriers enclose the entire pool area, are at least 4 feet high with gates that are self-closing, self-latching and open outward and away from the pool. The latch should be high enough to be out of a small child’s reach.
  • If you have an above-ground or inflatable pool, remove access ladders and secure the safety cover whenever the pool is not in use.
  • Remove any structures that provide access to the pool, such as outdoor furniture, climbable trees, decorative walls and playground equipment.
  • Keep toys that are not in use away from the pool and out of sight. Toys can attract young children to the pool.

Know What to Do in a Water Emergency
  • If a child is missing, check the water first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability.
  • Know how and when to call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
  • If you own a home pool or hot tub, have appropriate equipment, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, life jackets and a first aid kit.

Beach Safety
  • Swimming in open waters takes different skills.
  • Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets in and the around water.
  • Protect your neck and don’t dive head-first. Check for depth and obstructions before diving and go in feet first the first time.
  • Pay especially close attention to children and elderly persons when at the beach. Even in shallow water, wave action can cause a loss of footing.
  • Keep a lookout for aquatic life. Water plants and animals may be dangerous. Avoid patches of plants. Leave animals alone.

Rip Currents
  • Rip currents are responsible for deaths on our nation’s beaches every year and for most of the rescues performed by lifeguards.
  • Rip currents can form in any large open water area, such as low spots and breaks in sandbars, or near structures such as jetties and piers.
  • Stay at least 100 feet away from piers and jetties. Permanent rip currents often exist near these structures.
  • If you are caught in a rip current, stay calm and do not fight the current.
  • Swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current. Once you are free, turn and swim toward shore.
  • If you can't swim to the shore, float or tread water until you are free of the rip current and then head toward shore.
  • If you feel you can’t make it to the shore, draw attention to yourself by waving and calling for help.
  • If someone is in trouble in the water, get help from a lifeguard. If a lifeguard is not available, have someone call 9-1-1.Throw the victim something that floats – a lifejacket, cooler, inflatable ball – and yell instructions on how to escape the current.
  • When at the beach, check conditions before entering the water. Check to see if any warning flags are up or ask a lifeguard about water conditions, beach conditions or any potential hazards. 

     


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