Summer Swimming Safety 3 Tips for Swimming in Open Water
T here’s nothing like taking a dip in a nearby pond, lake, or even the ocean. For many, it’s a summertime tradition. However, swimming in open bodies of water brings certain safety risks, as these environments are not nearly as controlled as public, club, or backyard pools. Everyone should follow these tips to have a fun and safe time cooling off under the summer sun. Never swim alone . When you swim in virtually any body of water, having someone there to keep an eye on you can be a lifesaver: the more people, the better. Stick to bodies of water with a professional lifeguard on duty when possible, though that’s not always an option. When swimming in open bodies of water, have
a “designated spotter” to keep an eye on the swimmers. This way, you’re prepared if anything bad happens. It’s also a great idea to keep flotation devices nearby, such as life jackets, life rings, foam boards, etc. Know what you’re getting into. Sometimes, it’s next to impossible to see what’s under the surface of the water. If you are unfamiliar with a body of water, don’t jump or dive in without knowing how deep it is. If you cannot confirm what is under the surface (and the spot is not a known diving location), don’t risk it. It may be okay to swim or wade, but jumping is out of the question. Along these same lines, be VERY careful around bodies of slow-moving or standing water.
These can house dangerous microbes and other contaminants that can make you ill and potentially be deadly. Watch for rip currents. These can occur at any beach without warning. They pull swimmers away from shore and are strong enough that even excellent swimmers struggle to get through them. In fact, rip currents are behind nearly 80 percent of beach rescues. Keep an eye on the foam at the surface of the water. If it seems to suddenly pull away from the beach, there’s a good chance a rip current is lurking beneath. If you find yourself in a rip current, it’s crucial to remain calm and avoid expending energy swimming directly back to shore. Instead, try swimming parallel to the shore until you’re out of the current.
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