Water Safety Tips

Learn How to Stay Safe on the Water

We’re fortunate to have access to Georgia’s many lakes, where people of all ages can enjoy swimming, boating, water skiing, tubing and other water sports. Water activities are fun and also contribute to physical fitness, but it’s important to exercise caution and stay safe in and around water.

Both beginners and experienced swimmers should observe these basic safety rules that apply to swimming and water sports.

  • Always swim with someone else nearby. Use the "buddy system," in which you and another swimmer agree to watch each other.
  • Carefully watch young children. Do not leave children unattended near water. Do not trust a child's life to another child. Teach children to always ask permission to go near water.
  • Ensure that young children or inexperienced swimmers wear a properly fitted personal flotation device (or life jacket). Do not rely on life jackets alone. Maintain constant supervision.
  • Do not allow distractions when supervising children around water.
  • Never dive or jump into unfamiliar water. Shallow water or submerged trees or rocks could cause injury or paralysis.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol around water. Alcohol can impair your judgment, balance and coordination.
  • To prevent hypothermia, avoid staying in the water too long, especially when the water is cold.
  • Protect your skin. Wear sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher.
  • Keep life-saving equipment handy, such as a reaching or throwing apparatus.
  • If you are a beginner or an inexperienced swimmer, avoid water that is so deep that you cannot touch the bottom.
  • If you are a good swimmer, keep an eye on those who are not as experienced as you. If someone on either team seems tired or uneasy, suggest taking a break.
  • Play in safe areas. Avoid areas with changing currents and conditions, sudden storms or other hidden dangers.

Know How to Respond in an Aquatic Emergency

  • If a child is missing, check the water first. A quick response can prevent death or disability.
  • Know how and when to call 911 or the local emergency number.
  • Enroll in Red Cross water safety, first aid and CPR courses to learn what to do.
  • Keep life-saving equipment handy, such as a reaching or throwing apparatus, a cell phone, life jackets and a first aid kit.

Prepare a First-Aid Kit

Bring a small first-aid kit to prevent minor mishaps from spoiling your vacation, outing or event.

Your kit may contain:

  • Aloe gel for sunburn relief
  • Triple-antibiotic ointment
  • Pain relievers
  • Waterproof bandages plus alcohol pads
  • Hydrocortisone cream for insect bites
  • Tweezers for boardwalk splinters
  • Ear drops for swimmer's ear
  • Motion sickness pills for boat rides
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Insect repellent
  • Chemical cold pack for swelling

Water Skiing Safety and Boating Rules

With so many lakes in Georgia, there are plenty of places to go water skiing and boating. But before you head out on the water, it's important to know how to stay safe. Here are some guidelines to help keep you safe. 

Georgia Boating Regulations

Find current, pertinent information about Georgia's boating regulations and boat registration through The Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division by visiting the link below or calling 1-800-366-2661. With this online resource, you can also locate boat ramps throughout the state and discover available boating education opportunities. 

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