It's Memorial Day weekend, and who doesn't want to spend it soaking up some vitamin D by the water? While spending time on the water is relaxing and a great time for people of all ages, you have to be responsible. There are over 3,500 unintentional drownings per year in the United States.
With summer break just around the corner, help educate yourself and those you love on the importance of being a safe swimmer and boater.
Yes, mom used to preach all of the ABC's of water safety to us as a child. So much of it seems like common sense, I know. But let's take a little refresher, shall we?
Be a safe swimmer
- You should always swim with a partner and never swim in the dark.
- Always make sure the temperature of the water feels comfortable and it's not too cold. If you're shivering or start to feel your muscles cramping up, it may be because the water is too cold. This is not safe and you should get out of the water.
- Avoid going in the water if you can't swim, have had too much sun or are overly tired. Especially avoid the water if you are intoxicated. I know, I know! More common sense stuff. But you'd be surprised how many people break this golden rule.
- You should always get out of the water as soon as you see or hear a storm. Remember, lightning is electricity — electricity and water are a dangerous combination.
Have you ever heard of Electric Shock Drowning?
- This is very real and has been the cause of many drowning deaths, especially among children.
- If you are a parent, always make sure your children understand the importance of not swimming anywhere there could be electricity.
- Never swim within 100 yards of a marina or boatyard. If you are in the water and you feel tingling or shocks, do not swim back toward the dock.
So you have a boat?
- So often alcohol and boating go hand in hand. But operating a boat while under the influence is just as dangerous as drinking and driving a car. It puts yourself, the lives of your passengers, and other boaters at risk. So yes, I'm going to sound like mom again - please don't drink and boat.
- Always stay alert. Look out for people and other boaters. Share the water!
- Keep your boat in safe waters. Avoid areas where tree stumps could be sticking out of the water and avoid water too shallow for your boat.
- Always drive at a speed that allows you to easily control the boat.
- You should always have a minimum of one life preserver per passenger. This one is very important!
- When boating after dark, make sure your lights are working and always keep a flare gun handy.
- Always be a prudent Captain! Know the weather and avoid taking out your boat on days the weather is going to be bad or the waters rough.
Enjoy your summer and stay safe.
And remember to save the adult beverages for when you're sinking your toes in the sand (or mud).