Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Water Safety Tips Pt. 2

Here are a Few More Tips to help you make your Water Activities a Safe and Fun Experience.
If at the Beach add these tips:
*      NEVER turn your back to the ocean -- you may be swept off coastal bluffs or tide pool areas and into the water by waves that can come without warning
*      If caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore until free, don't swim against the current's pull
*      Stay over 100 feet away from jetties; piers; fixed objects in the water.
*      If you are in trouble, call or wave for help
*      If you run into some jellyfish or Portuguese man-of-wars and get stung, you can treat it immediately with vinegar, but you should seek medical assistance.
*      Read and Heed posted surf warnings
*      Follow regulations and lifeguard directions
*      Swim parallel to shore if you wish to swim long distances
*      Scuba dive only if trained and certified -- and within the limits of your training
*      No glass containers at the beach -- broken glass and bare feet don't mix
*      No beach fires except in designated areas -- fire residue and superheated sand can severely burn bare feet -- use a barbeque that is elevated off the sand
*      Report hazardous conditions to lifeguards or other beach management personnel
*      Stay clear of coastal bluffs, they can collapse and cause injury

Rip currents are a natural hazard and they are with us always. They pull victims away from the beach. The United States Lifeguarding Association has found that 80% of the rescues affected by ocean lifeguards involve saving those caught in rip currents.

A rip current is a seaward moving current that circulates water back to sea after it is pushed ashore by waves. Each wave accumulates water on shore creating seaward pressure. This pressure is released in an area with the least amount of resistance which is usually the deepest point along the ocean floor. Rip currents also exist in areas where the strength of the waves are weakened by objects such as rock jetties, piers, natural reefs, and even large groups of bathers. Rip currents often look like muddy rivers flowing away from shore.

Try to avoid swimming where rip currents are present, but if you become caught in a one, swim parallel to the shore until the pull stops and then swim back to shore.  Repeat as often as necessary. It may take several attempts before you reach the shore and you may find yourself several blocks away from where you originally entered the water.  The key is to remain calm; not to panic or tire yourself by “fighting” the current.  If you are unable to return to the beach, tread water and wave for lifeguard assistance.

Going Boating:
v  Children should always wear life jackets in a boat or anytime there’s a chance they might accidentally fall into the water.  Adults should set a good example by wearing one themselves.  Make sure your child’s life jacket is appropriately sized and read the instructions and warning labels before using. It should be Coast Guard approved.
v  Swimming behind a running boat is extremely dangerous.  Not only do swimmers risk coming into contact with the motor’s blades, the carbon monoxide from the exhaust can quickly overcome a swimmer, who may pass out and drown.
v  Dock Safety – Be prepared for the worst with a hook, rope and throw ring attached to the dock.  Practice their use but don’t allow the kids to play with them.  To help prevent accidental falls, paint a line several feet in from the edge of the dock.  Insist that the line is not to be crossed unless the child is holding the hand of an adult.  All docks should have safety entrance gates equipped with alarms.
Finally, some last tips and pointers:
Supervision – According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, nearly 70 percent of child drownings occur when one or both parents are nearby.  Never, ever turn your back when your child is in or near the water.  And if you are at the beach, where waves and currents can hamper even the best little swimmer, always stay within arm’s reach of your child.  And be clear with the other adults as to whose turn it is to watch the kids.
Bright Colors – Wearing bright colors will make your child more visible on the shoreline and in the water.  And if you always dress your children in the same bright colors at the beach and lake, it’s even easier to pick them out of the crowd.
Pictures – Hopefully you won’t need it, but having a photo of your child dressed in his or her beach clothes can come in handy.  Keep it in a waterproof plastic bag in case you need to show it to the life guard.
Cell Phones – In case of emergency, you need your cell phone close by and fully charged. Keep it in a plastic bag to protect it from sand, salt and water.

Be Safe
Have Fun

Shawn Slevin
Swim Strong Foundation, Inc.

No comments:

Post a Comment