Local

July 26, 2013

Learning to swim best water safety measure

Whether you are working or enjoying recreational activities near water, the best water hazard insurance you can have is learning to swim and teaching your family to swim.

You do not have to be a champion swimmer in order to save yourself in a water emergency. A simple stroke such as a dog paddle can allow you to reach safety.

Statistics reveal that one half of the annual drowning incidents happen within 30 feet of safety.

Water safety begins with good judgment. Never swim alone, always go with a buddy. Know the area where you are swimming and do not exceed your ability. Exceeding your ability will get you in trouble. If you are at the beach, know where the rip tides are. Find out about drop-offs, deep holes and rocky areas. A few common sense items that could save your life are:

  • Wear flotation devices while boating, water skiing or kayaking just to name a few. Always keep them buckled, snapped or zipped, so if you fall in, they will stay on.
  • Do not mix drinking and swimming or boating at picnics or outings. Over ten percent of all drowning victims had consumed alcoholic beverages. Alcoholic beverages can reduce your ability to make good decisions.
  • Swimming requires a lot of energy and makes muscles susceptible to cramps. If you lose energy, rest on your back in a floating position, or √ęstar√≠ position, and use a minimum amount of motion.
  • Undertow, rip tides or strong currents: There are several types of dangerous marine currents that should be avoided, if possible. If you are caught in a current, do not fight it. Swim parallel to the shore or diagonally toward it, heading toward the shore only after you are out of the current.
  • Water Temperature: Cold water can cause shock to the body. Blood vessels constrict, your body loses heat and you can develop an oxygen deficiency that causes unconsciousness and ultimately drowning. Hypothermia caused by cold water can cause death in minutes.
  • Stay with a swamped boat or canoe. Many boats will not sink even if the hull has been ruptured, and they may offer some buoyancy. Sometimes you can climb or swim into the swamped boat and paddle to shore. It is also easier for emergency rescuers to find you if you are close to the boat.
  • Consult with your local municipality, Coast Guard office, American Red Cross office, and other authorities for additional water safety tips, rules and regulations.

Finally, abide by the safety rules at all times when around water. Share these rules and enforce them with your children. Do not let a drowning tragedy strike you or any members of your family.




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