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Summer Water Safety For Everyone

Updated on May 15, 2016
Beautiful peaceful water can become deadly in moments.  Are you prepared?
Beautiful peaceful water can become deadly in moments. Are you prepared? | Source

Today,there is a family aching from the loss of a man they loved dearly. I don't know this man, but I know he was a hero. He died saving his young niece. His mother, brother, wife and other family members were there. I know of this man was a hero because the Emergency Medical Reponders (E.M.R.'s) who were first on the scene said so.

These young professionals used every aspect of their training, but time and distance was against them.

The scenario. A family was boating at the lake. There were two boats. One boat was their own boat, the other boat was a rental from the lake marina. It's a hot summer afternoon approaching evening. They had been having a great day on the water. They are a few miles from the boat dock. The boats are in deep water that turns shallow quickly close to shore.


A little girl who can't swim very well gets over her head. It's just a guess, but I suspect she was between the beach and the boats. Her uncle goes into the water and tries to keep her afloat until he gets to shallow water. Others come to aid and get the girl, but don't realize he is having trouble. Was he is a good swimmer? Who knows, many think they are good swimmers who are not. The child gets to safety, but he can't help himself. Family begins screaming for help. People in another boat come to help. They get the unresponsive man out of the water and onto the bank. They begin CPR. They are some miles away from the dock and boat launch. The nearest life guards and E,M.R.s are half a mile beyond the dock. A dock worker is on the lake because someone in a rented boat is having trouble. He radio's into the dock. Dock workers radios the park services fire department and the lifeguard station. As soon as the call comes in responders are on the move, running to the boat at the end of the beach. The boat driver has worked on the lake the last four years and knows exactly where to go. Just days before he was on a boat in that same spot with his mother, brother, sister-in-law and their three little kids.

Another dock worker, also an E.M.R races to assist, beaches his boat as the lifeguard boat rounds the point. Time elapsed is between fifteen and twenty minutes. First E.M.R relieves the good Samaritan from his task of CPR and as the lifeguards beach. The dock worker gives report, the clock is ticking and the rotation begins to enable E.M.R.'s to continue CPR until someone with more medical training arrives and says otherwise. One guard scribes, as history is gathered and medical care is given.The defibrillator is used to get the man's heart started. After thirty minutes paramedics take charge of the man and the life guards begin to get the family members back to the dock. Some members are hysterical on the ride in. Others are quiet. The quiet ones know their loved one is gone.

The life guards view this man as a hero. It's one thing to try to attempt to save the life of an adult, but a child is completely different. Routinely life guards are confronted with the parent who doesn't know where her child is. When you are around water there are simple safety measures that can make the difference between life and death. Accidents happen, knowing what to do in the event of an accident em;powers you to save a life.

Be alert! Know your limits and surroundings!

Don't count on life guards or other emergency personal to help. The above story was the perfect scenario with time and distance against the victim. In another instance a man who had been drinking went under. They were out of bounds, but within shouting distance of lifeguards. His friends got immediate help. The guards set up a search and found the man under a dock. Worst scenario, but time and distance of help was in his favor and he survived.

Boat Safety

Many trust in their own abilities to protect themselves and their families. That is their choice. By law watercraft must have life preservers, for each person in the boat, while they are on the water. Children must wear their life preservers, but adults have the option to do so or not.

Most people who are good swimmers feel they don't need to wear life preservers on a boat. I have been there. We all want a good tan without lines, or the life preserver is uncomfortable.

My suggestion to these arguments wouldn't have worked a few years ago, because life preservers used to be horrible. They were big,scratchy, ill fitting, puffy orange floating cushions. No so ,any longer.

Be safe get a nice, well fitting life vest and wear it. You don't need that much sun on your body. In my story the man could have taken off his vest and put it on the child then saved himself.

If you have ever flown the attendant always says to put on your own oxygen before helping your child. This thinking might have helped this man.

Need I really say," Drinking while baking in the sun, is a bad idea in so many ways".

Reasons to limit drinking while on a boat.

  1. Alcohol dehydrates you. A classic sign of dehydration is a headache.
  2. Alcohol impairs judgment. More than one person has gone to jail because a drunk involved them in poor choices.
  3. Alcohol can never fix what it broke.


Buddy System

Use the buddy system. Here is Tireless stuck up to her knees in the mud and sinking.  Buddy was on more stable ground.
Use the buddy system. Here is Tireless stuck up to her knees in the mud and sinking. Buddy was on more stable ground. | Source

Float Bouy


Know Your Limitations When You Are Near Water

Know your limitations when you are around the water.

You seldom hear of lifeguards dying in the line of duty. Last year the first lifeguard to die in the line of duty in the 100 + years of this history of Newport Beach, California, lifeguards. He was an experienced lifeguard and the ocean was exceptionally turbulent the day he died.

Even the best swimmers can be blindsided in water.

Lifeguards are taught to know their limitations. They are taught that fear and hysteria can make even a four year old child difficult to rescue. Lifeguards know they are not Superman.

Even if you think you are Superman there are some things you can do to keep yourself and others around you safe in the water.

If you see someone thrashing in the water find out if the are playing or having trouble? It is so easy to say, "Are you OK?"

Here are some things to consider that may be helpful when the answer is no.

1.If the person is actively drowning Throw them something to grab onto. High tech is unnecessary. Is there a stick that would reach the struggling swimmer without you getting wet? Put it in front of him and pull him to safety. (Swimming pool lifeguards almost never need to go into the water because of the hooks around the pool.) Is there a life vest around? Get it in front of him to grab onto. If you are a bad aim and have more vests throw another.

Surfers are well equipped to rescue people and do so all the time using their surf boards as floats.

2. Shout for help! Make sure help on the way before you go into the water.

3. Regardless of what help is on the way grab something that floats and take it with you. Sealed ice chests almost always float these days. Never go near someone struggling in the water without something that floats they can grab onto. They will grab onto you if you are all there is.

4.Talk to the swimmer as you approach. Let them know help is on the way. Staying calm will help calm the swimmer and help you both survive.

5. Approach from behind, don't let the struggling swimmer take you under. If you go under the person struggling will try to climb you. Pull them under until they let go of you.

What's Happening Here?

A little girl was throwing her dolly down each time she went down the slide. She had gotten sidetracked and left her doll. Nothing was wrong, but it was concerning for awhile.
A little girl was throwing her dolly down each time she went down the slide. She had gotten sidetracked and left her doll. Nothing was wrong, but it was concerning for awhile. | Source

Know Your Surroundings

Know the water where you plan to boat or swim. Is the water deep? Are there rocks. If you are going into water for the first time and you can not see the bottom:

  1. Go in slowly
  2. Have something on your feet
  3. Do not enter swiftly moving water

Water Safety Means Being Alert

The event that began this article occurred in a lake. Some times we think of swimming pools as safer than lakes or the ocean. In some respects that is true. When you are in a confined space it is easier for a lifeguard to see a struggling swimmer.

Children are so incredibly unpredictable.The dolly in the picture at the right caused concern for all the adults until the mystery was resolved.

BE ALERT AROUND WATER! Know what is happening around you. All the adults originally were concerned. It was toddler swim at the local wading pool. A little girl had been tossing her dolly down the slide every time she went down. Then suddenly the dolly was there for quite awhile. The little little girl gotten out of the pool and forgotten dolly. Everyone was relieved when dolly and child were reunited.

Test Your Water Safety Skills

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Water Water Who Can Live Without It

I most certainly can't live without water. I can survive any kind of heat with water to play in. I took my first tumble through the ocean when I was five and got slammed by a wave. I just got up and started laughing.

The reason I could laugh was I was comfortable in the water. Swim lessons and trips to the beach, with my dad,were a part of everyday life, during the summer.

At our local lakes the lifeguards do short safety courses all the time. There are also life vests available for loan. Your local lifeguard can answer any questions you have about water safety.

To learn more about water safety contact the American Red Cross.

Water is wonderful. Be safe around it PLEASE!


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    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 17 months ago from California


      So often people think they are much better swimmers than they are. I just don't understand people.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 17 months ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Very useful do's and dont's. Nothing is worth taking a risk with one's life.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 19 months ago from California


      It is second nature for you and I, but many just don't think. It was a blow to my ego Last summer when I had to float in the lake with a life preserver because of a bum shoulder. But I was more useful floating than floundering. Been praying lot's for Florida. What a week you all have had.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 19 months ago from sunny Florida

      How sad that lives are lost each year due to safety issues surrounding the water that are not considered. Great article.

      Having grown up along the waters of Virginia my sisters and I were taught great respect for it whether boating or swimming.


      Angels are on the way to you this morning ps

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 22 months ago from Shelton

      Tireless.. These are great guidelines to follow for this upcoming summer.. useful and detailed.. awesome share Frank

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 2 years ago from California

      Jackie, you are so right. I am a strong swimmer and got a cramp while holding my grandson in the shallow end of the pool. It was then I understood how a person could drown because of a cramp. I just needed to stand up but the cramp wouldn't let me. Luckily a friend was near by.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Great water safety article. Perhaps the man had cramps after sitting in a boat a long time, who knows but it is a shame. I often think of a young boy in my class in sixth grade that went swimming in a river with his parents and a water current carried him away and they could do nothing. So all the knowledge any of them had could not help them. The same thing almost happened to me a few years later and I was yelling for help and no one heard me but I fought as hard as I could and broke through it and perhaps it was not a strong current but too much for a small kid. Anyway as much as I love water I have always been cautious of it and I could never swim in an ocean, wouldn't even try it. But some of us just enjoy the beauty without the danger.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 2 years ago

      Great topic and so very useful for everyone. It is so important to have these tips before you enjoy any water fun. You are right, even the best swimmers need to be aware of water safety.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 2 years ago from California

      aviannovice, Thank you for visiting. You just never know when reading an article will remind you of something, then suddenly you need it and it's already for you to do.

      Alycia, When I noticed you were from B.C. it reminded me of the summer between my son's freshmen and sophomore year of high school. He was at Malibu and was asked to wake board in front of the group. He said the water was freezing. He didn't go in again the rest of the week. He wears a wet suit here for that temp of water.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      We always need reminders now and then, especially if we don't use those important skills for saving lives. This was a necessary article to prove to us how important reminders are.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 2 years ago from California

      Greetings Vellur, So much of water safety is using good sense. Good of you to visit.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 2 years ago from Dubai

      Great tips for being safe, life is precious and it is always better to be safe than sorry. As you say nowadays the life vests are so very comfortable and are not big and scratchy.. Thank you for sharing.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for sharing these water safety tips. They are very important at any time of year.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Relevant every day but especially for this time of year. Thank you for putting this safety information together so well.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 2 years ago from California

      Patricia, When you live in California and Florida swimming is a necessity. My BFF in high school couldn't swim. She grew up is a town where every other house had a swimming pool, not to mention the ocean 30 miles away and the lake 10 miles or the creek just down the street. But she knew she couldn't swim and allowed me to teach her basic water skills. She met her husband at a swimming pool in South Dakota and he couldn't swim. Go figure.

      I will take all the angels you want to send :)

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 2 years ago from California

      Great to see you Bob. When I was camping as a ten year old, I thought I was going down some rapids. I was sure I was going to drown. My friend yelled, "Stand Up". I was in knee deep water.

      Some times help is closer than we know.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 2 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      A must read for everyone. All it takes is a second's mistake in judgment, or when the unexpected suddenly occurs, that can place one in danger. Excellent hub.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      All great suggestions and words of wisdom. So many dangerous situations could be avoided by simply being aware and realistic.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 2 years ago from sunny Florida

      These are great tips for any time of the year. Many of us have water sports at our fingertips all year long so knowing and thinking about such safety is imperative. Important, timely, and well written..

      Angels are on the way to you this afternoon ps

      shared g+ tweeted

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 2 years ago from south Florida

      These are important tips for folks to remember to avoid senseless accidents when swimming or boating. Thanks for your contribution, Judy.

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 2 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Sensible and needed advice. Too many people are lost every year a few yards from help.