No one wants to think about what could go wrong when they are out for a day of fun and celebration. However, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, it may be necessary when talking about safety on the water.
“Georgia’s lakes, rivers and other areas are great recreational resources, and their abundance makes them an easy and economically sound way to beat the heat in the summertime,” says Lt. Col. Jeff Weaver. “However, there needs to be a healthy amount of respect for what can go wrong when utilizing this resource. You need to know how to protect yourself, your loved ones and others on the water.”
What are some of the best ways that you can stay safe while swimming? Check out these following tips:
- Parents/guardians, don’t take your eyes off small children. ALWAYS know where they are when around water. DON’T ASSUME SOMEONE ELSE IS WATCHING THEM!
- Always swim with a buddy, never swim alone.
- Know your swimming limits and stay within them. Don’t try to keep up with a stronger skilled swimmer or encourage others to keep up with you.
- Swim in supervised areas only. Drop-offs or other underwater hazards may not be detectable from above the surface.
- Obey “No Diving” signs that indicate the area is unsafe for headfirst entries. Enter feet-first into water rather than headfirst if you don’t know the depth.
- Watch out for the “dangerous too’s” -- too tired, too cold, too far from safety, too much sun, too much strenuous activity.
- Alcohol and swimming don’t mix. Alcohol impairs your judgment, balance and coordination especially in and around water. It affects your swimming and diving skills and reduces your body’s ability to stay warm.
- If you are a marginal or non-swimmer, wear a life jacket.
- Many lakes have life jacket borrowing programs – take advantage of these if you do not have your own.
Many of these tips were found at the American Red Cross-Metro Atlanta Chapter website, where you also can find information about swimming safety classes, at www.atlantaredcross.org .