Coast Guard urges swimmers to take safety precautions

9th Coast Guard District News

CLEVELAND — In conjunction with National Safe Boating Week, which began Saturday, the Ninth Coast Guard District encourages swimmers in the Great Lakes region to take a few simple safety precautions before and while swimming to ensure their safety.

Drowning is the third leading cause of accidental death in the United States and the second leading cause of accidental death for five to 44-year-olds.

In an effort to save lives, the Coast Guard recommends the following for all swimmers:

  • Swim near a lifeguard – U.S. Lifesaving Association statistics during a 10-year period show that the chance of drowning at a beach without lifeguard protection is almost five times as great as drowning at a beach with lifeguards.
  • Never swim alone – Many drownings involve single swimmers. Learn water rescue techniques you can use if someone you are swimming with is in danger.
  • Don’t fight the current – If caught in a rip current, don’t fight it by trying to swim directly to shore. Instead, swim parallel to shore until you feel the current relax, then swim to shore. Most rip currents are narrow and a short swim parallel to shore will bring a swimmer to safety.
  • Swim sober – Alcohol is a major factor in drowning. Alcohol can reduce body temperature and impair swimming ability. Both alcohol and drugs impair good judgment, which may cause people to take risks they would not otherwise take.
  • Don’t float where you can’t swim – Non-swimmers and weak swimmers often use flotation devices, such as inflatable rafts, to go offshore. If they fall off, they can quickly drown. No one should use a flotation device unless they are able to swim. The only exception is a person wearing an inherently buoyant Coast Guard approved Type I, II or III personal flotation device, or life jacket.
  • Prepare for the unexpected – Wear a life jacket while participating in any activity during which you could unexpectedly enter the water, such as when fishing from break walls or piers.
  • Avoid unnecessary risks – Walking along break walls is risky because it only takes a momentary loss of footing to invite tragedy. Jumping from break walls, waterside structures or into unfamiliar water is extremely dangerous since unseen underwater hazards may exist.

Additional water safety tips are available on the U.S. Lifesaving Association website.

Related Posts

Comments are closed.