Splashing and playing in natural bodies of water can be a great way for families and friends to spend time together. Be sure you take precautions if you plan to swim or ride in a boat, canoe, or other water vehicle. Here are important tips to heed to protect yourself and others from drowning.
- Wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket. Make sure all passengers put on a life jacket, regardless of distance to be traveled, size of boat, or swimming ability of boaters.
- Know the meaning of and obey warnings represented by colored beach flags. These may vary from one beach to another.
- Watch for dangerous waves and signs of rip currents. Some examples are water that is discolored and choppy, foamy, or filled with debris, and moving in a channel away from shore.
- If you are caught in a rip current, swim parallel to shore. Once free of the current, swim diagonally toward shore.
- Do not use air-filled or foam toys, such as water wings, noodles, or inner-tubes, in place of life jackets. These toys are not designed to keep swimmers safe.
- Do not drink—alcohol is involved in about one-third of all recreational and boating fatalities.
Tips courtesy of CDC[i]