by Angela Beale, Ph.D.
Have you started to make your summer plans? Are you dreaming of the beautiful warm waters that await you? Train yourself to become an aqua braniac, a person who actively pursues the aquatic knowledge to save his or her own life, and to help save someone else. Unfortunately, every day about 10 people die from unintentional drownings, and of these, two are children aged 14 or younger. Drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the United States (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2012).
As we prepare to make a splash at our local pools, beaches and waterfronts for summertime fun, we should remember these water safety tips:
- Be respectful, vigilant and responsible in every aquatic arena.
- Always have a BFF—make sure you never swim alone.
- Know your limits—do not try to swim further than you are able to.
- Always swim in a supervised area—only swim when a lifeguard is on duty.
- Wear your jacket—if you cannot swim, or are participating in a water sport or boating activity, wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket.
- Cold and ice are not nice—do not enter or remain in water that is too cold for too long.
- Reach or throw, but don’t go—if you see someone in distress, try to reach out to them with a pole, stick, rescue tube or something that can help them stay afloat such as a ball, ring buoy or cooler.
- Listen to the weather—do not swim during storms.
- Avoid alcohol—do not drink while participating in any aquatic physical activity.
- Love the skin you are in and let your feet do the walking—wear sunblock to protect your skin and always enter any body of water feet first.
Angela Beale is an assistant professor in Adelphi’s Ruth S. Ammon School of Education. She is the program director of Project Guard: Make-A-Splash.