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Water safety at your hotel, water parks, lakes, and the beach


General Water Safety
  • Learn to swim. The best thing anyone can do to stay safe in and around the water is to learn to swim. Always swim with a buddy.
  • Swim in areas supervised by a lifeguard. Read and obey all rules and posted signs.
  • Children or inexperienced swimmers should take precautions, such as wearing a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal floatation device (PFD) when around the water.
  • Watch out for the dangerous “too’s” – too tired, too cold, too far from safety, too much sun, too much strenuous activity.
  • Set water safety rules for the whole family based on swimming abilities (for example, inexperienced swimmers should stay in water less than chest deep).
  • Be knowledgeable of the water environment you are in and its potential hazards, such as deep and shallow areas, currents, depth changes, obstructions and where the entry and exit points are located. The more informed you are, the more aware you will be of hazards and safe practices.
  • Pay attention to local weather conditions and forecasts. Stop swimming at the first indication of bad weather.
  • Use a feet-first entry when entering the water.
  • Enter headfirst only when the area is clearly marked for diving and has no obstructions.
  • Do not mix alcohol with swimming, diving or boating. Alcohol impairs your judgment, balance, and coordination, affects your swimming and diving skills, and reduces your body's ability to stay warm.
  • Know how to prevent, recognize, and respond to emergencies.

Keeping children safe in, on, and around the water

  • Maintain constant supervision. Watch children around any water environment (pool, stream, lake, tub, toilet, bucket of water), no matter what skills your child has acquired and no matter how shallow the water. For younger children, practice "Reach Supervision" by staying within arm's length reach.
  • Don't rely on substitutes. The use of floatation devices and inflatable toys cannot replace parental supervision. Such devices could suddenly shift position, lose air, or slip out from underneath, leaving the child in a dangerous situation.
  • Enroll children in a water safety course or Learn-to-Swim classes. Your decision to provide your child with an early aquatic experience is a gift that will have infinite rewards. These courses encourage safe practices.
  • Parents should take a CPR course. Knowing these skills can be important around the water and you will expand your capabilities in providing care for your child.

Ocean safety

  • NEVER SWIM ALONE... especially in the ocean.
  • When swimming in the ocean, especially when there is visable wave action, wear swim fins or have a floatation device like a boogy board with a leash you can attach to your wrist.
  • Learn to swim. The best thing anyone can do to stay safe in and around the water is to learn to swim--this includes adults and children. The American Red Cross has swimming courses for people of any age and swimming ability.
  • Stay within the designated swimming area, ideally within the visibility of a lifeguard. 
  • Check the surf conditions before you enter the water. Check to see if a warning flag is up or check with a lifeguard for water conditions, beach conditions, or any potential hazards.
  • Stay away from piers, pilings, and diving platforms when in the water.
  • Keep a lookout for aquatic life. Water plants and animals may be dangerous. Avoid patches of plants. Leave animals alone.
  • Make sure you always have enough energy to swim back to shore.
  • Rip Tides, even a small one, are dangerous if you panic.  Don’t try to swim against a current, directly back to shore if caught in one. Swim out of the rip tide by swimming parallel to the beach and out of the current.  Once you are out of the current you can swim back to the beach.

Waterpark safety

  • NEVER SWIM ALONE
  • Learn to swim. The best thing anyone can do to stay safe in and around the water is to learn to swim--this includes adults and children.
  • Be sure the area is well supervised by lifeguards before you or others in your group enter the water.
  • Read all posted signs. Follow the rules and directions given by lifeguards. Ask questions if you are not sure how to use one of the attractions.
  • When you go from one attraction to another, note that the water depth may be different and that the attraction should be used in a different way. Before you start down a water slide, get in the correct position--face up and feet first.
  • Some facilities provide life jackets at no charge. If you cannot swim, wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket. Check others in your group as well.