Swimming and water sports can be enjoyed by people of all ages. They're fun and also contribute to physical fitness. To stay safe in the water, beginners and experienced swimmers should observe these basic safety rules that apply to swimming and water sports.
Basic Safety Rules
- 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 a protection factor of at least 15.
- Keep life-saving equipment handy, such as reaching or throwing apparatus.
- If you're a beginner or an inexperienced swimmer, avoid water that is so deep you can't touch the bottom.
- If you're a good swimmer, keep an eye on those who aren't as experienced as you. If someone on either team seems to be getting tired or uneasy, suggest taking a break.
- Play in safe areas. Avoid areas with changing currents and conditions, sudden storms or other hidden dangers.