Safety tips for lake swimming

Planning a trip to the lake this summer? If so, make sure you and your family enjoy your time in a safe way. We share some tips to bear in mind when you’re around a lake this season.

Family swimming at the lake

Look out for boats

Although the majority of boat drivers know what they’re doing, it’s important to remember how small you may look in the distance as a swimmer. A boat driver may think all is clear ahead until it’s too late. Make sure everyone is on the lookout for boats, and communicate with one another if one begins to approach. It’s not worth assuming they’ll see you, so take care and be vigilant.

Wear bright colours

A person can blend in with the water far more easily than one might expect. Encourage your family to wear bright colours for easy viewing. If you are in a particularly big lake or one with a lot of boats, you may also want to consider wearing bright bathing caps to ensure you can easily keep track of everyone.

Don’t let anyone swim alone

It doesn’t matter how old you are; it is always wise to swim with a buddy. Or have someone stay on land and ask the swimmer to stay within sight.

Check the weather

If you’re planning to swim a little farther away from shore, make sure you check the forecast before you do. Swimming too far out when a storm is brewing is exceptionally dangerous, so know what’s in store for you before heading out.

Look for rules

If you are swimming at a public beach, Livestrong recommends checking if there is a lifeguard station or local convenience store that has rules posted. If the beach is unsupervised, there will often be signs or buoys to indicate where swimming is safest. Make sure you have all the necessary information before you start swimming.

Know the water

Just because you and your family members know how to swim doesn’t mean you know the specifications of the lake you are swimming in. Check the water temperature before jumping in just in case it is cold and shocks your system. You should also never dive into water until you are 100 per cent certain it is deep enough.

Keep life jackets on hand

If a child is still working on his or her swimming skills, you will definitely want to provide a life jacket that fits properly. Even if a child thinks he or she doesn’t need one, trust your judgment. When in doubt, err to the side of caution, and have a child wear a life jacket. It is also wise to keep a few extra ones on hand in case others get tired and need some added assistance. Life jackets are an important safety tool to have when near bodies of water, so keep them with you at all times.

Know your resources

Before anyone begins swimming, make sure you know where key resources are in case of an emergency. If you brought a cell phone, make sure it has good reception. As a backup, ensure you know where the nearest land line is. It is also a good idea to find out where you can find a first aid kit as well as any life-saving staff, if applicable. Check out Health Canada’s watery safety and drowning prevention tips for more information. The more you know, the safer you’ll be!

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