By: Kevonne Bennett
While stuck at home, one of the rays of hope have been the actual rays of sunshine that have been warming things up as we work from our living rooms, take our walks, and exercise our baking skills. Warmer temperatures mean that people with pools and boats may be getting ready to hit the water, if possible. Now that the warmer season is on its way, it’s crucial to not only maintain your coronavirus precautions, but also be aware of common dangers of the season.
May 15 is National Water Safety Day, and the American Red Cross wants to make sure you and your loved ones stay safe. As you gear up to return to your favorite activities, please remember these tips.
Keep Your Distance—Even Outdoors
Whether you’re at a re-opened beach, a park, or any other public area, be mindful of social distancing. You and your party should remain six feet apart from others to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
Never Swim Alone!
Always swim with at least one buddy, and stay near a lifeguard so he or she can see you if you need assistance. If you’re at a backyard pool, make sure an adult is there to supervise any children at all times.
Keep an Eye on the Sky
Nothing ruins summer fun like bad weather. Before and during your swimming outing, monitor weather reports for any storm potential. Lightning can be random and unpredictable; if you hear rumblings of thunder, get out of the water immediately.
Follow the Rules
Listen to the lifeguards—their job is to protect you. Follow the rules of the venue, whether it’s a beach or community pool. Dive only in areas where diving is safe and allowed. Don’t let anyone engage in rowdy behavior that might put others at risk.
Wear Life Jackets
If you’re on a boat, make sure you and your companions are wearing U.S. Coast Guard–approved life jackets in the appropriate size. Anyone unable to swim or not entirely comfortable is encouraged to wear a life jacket whenever they’re in or around the water.
Know How to Help
A fun day in the water can turn into a crisis at any moment. If you see someone struggling, avoid getting into the water to help. Instead, safely throw equipment that the struggling person can grab. Alert a lifeguard. Lifeguards are trained in the safest ways to help a person in trouble.
The best way to stay safe in the water is to learn the skills you need to become Water Competent. Strongly consider taking a swimming or CPR class. Select classes are available online to complete at your convenience. Go to redcross.org/watersafety to register for classes and learn more about Water Competency.