While the warm weather tempts citizens to take a swim this summer, it’s imperative to do so safely. Drownings can occur within seconds, especially when it comes to children. Pasco Sheriff’s Office is sharing water safety tips to stay safe near water when enjoying water activities such as going out on a boat or visiting the beach or pool.
Take steps to ensure children are safe near water. Never leave children unattended or assume someone else is watching children when near water. Do not leave objects out, such as toys or floats, that may attract a child to the pool area. Teach children to swim, and to only get in or near the water when a responsible adult is present. Learn to perform CPR, and keep a phone and first aid kit nearby for emergencies. In the event of an emergency, call 911, and start life-saving procedures, such as CPR.
Keep pools secure to prevent a drowning. Check that drain covers and gates are secure. Use at least a four-foot high fence with self-closing and self-latching gates around all pools. Never leave something a child could use to climb over a fence or gate nearby. Use pool covers and install alarms, such as a wave-activated alarm in the pool or an alarm on the door leading from the house to the pool. Ensure life-saving equipment, such as life rings or reaching poles are in good condition and readily available.
When boating, check the weather forecast before heading out. Be prepared for high winds, sun and other elements, and be prepared to these conditions to change rapidly. Without proper knowledge of potential weather hazards, boating can put your vessel and passengers at risk. Don’t forget to stay hydrated and to bring plenty of drinkable water. Always designate a sober captain as well. Boating while intoxicated is not only illegal, but alcohol impairment affects the body differently while on the water and you may feel the effects sooner than drinking on land.
Before heading out on the boat, always check your equipment. Make sure your equipment is up-to-date and in good working condition. This includes making sure you have the proper permits, a fire extinguisher and easily accessible life jackets. Complete a float plan before you leave by letting someone who is staying shoreside know where you are going and launching from, how you plan to get there and approximately when you are leaving and plan to return. Float plans are critical in the event of an emergency and will give search and rescue crews a huge advantage in where to begin. Always complete safety checks before you launch.
Just how drivers share the road, boaters must remember to share the water and its resources. Be patient while at boat ramps and launch sites and follow all posted signs. Be cautious and reduce speeds near other vessels while on the water. Keep an eye out for other citizens on the water such as kayakers, paddle boarders and swimmers. Always look for dive flags to help keep snorkelers and divers safe when below the surface too. Be vigilant of wildlife, and give animals plenty of space.