I know a lot of people prefer open water to a pool, especially in the summer. You can definitely embrace it, but not without some key basics and sturdy safety practices when planning an open water swim with the family. Nature is unpredictable, but unnecessary swim accidents can be avoided. Just remember to keep safe while having fun, creating a positive recreational environment both for you and your family.
Tips to stay safe when around open waters:
- Completely different than a swimming pool, distance in open water can be deceiving and comes with a lot of new factors. Whether you are a swimmer, boater, or wader, you have to contend with waves, currents, cold water, sandbars, drop offs, undertows, water visibility, motor-crafts, and underwater obstacles.
- The power of currents should never be underestimated. Be aware of currents when swimming in any body of water. River currents have tremendous power and can trap even strong swimmers easily. Use extra caution when swimming and playing in rivers with kids, especially when around bridges, dams, and piles of rocks or logs.
- Check water temperature, and water depth when planning activities around open water and preferably swim with someone. Young kids should always be supervised. Waves and wind occur suddenly and are unpredictable. As a result, it is important to check before you go, as well as on an ongoing basis.
- Obey safety flags, signs or signals posted around open waters.
- According to the statistics, nearly 90 % of boaters who drown are without life-jackets, or are not properly worn. Wear them and wear them in the proper way.
- Avoid alcohol
Although swimming and playing in rivers, oceans, and lakes, can be fun, it’s important to be mindful of the potential dangers and issues.