Important Tips for a Fun and Safe Day in Open Water

As the July 4th holiday approaches, families across the country are making plans to head to cooler places! Lakes, rivers and oceans are sure to be popular options this holiday as the temperature continues to rise! While all of these water destinations are great fun, safety is a major concern as oftentimes there are no safety measures in place and no lifeguards to ensure they are enforced. 

Follow these simple rules and stay safe in the open water this holiday!

Keep your kids within arms-length – Children should always be visible and within arms-length of mom or dad, especially if they are not strong swimmers. Open water can cause panic in an instant among even the strongest swimmers. Also, be sure that you stay in groups so that boaters can see you!

Take your life jackets – It is the law! All watercrafts must have life jackets. Don’t skimp and get the little floaties or noodles; they are not life-saving devices. Invest the money to get good quality life jackets that are reliable in an emergency. Don’t forget … it won’t work unless it’s being worn!

Heading to the beach? Watch out for currents! Be sure to explain rip currents to your children prior to heading into the water. If your child needs a floatation device to be in the ocean, then they SHOULD NOT swim alone. Even the strongest swimmers can have serious problems with ocean currents. If you get caught in a current, remember to always swim at an angle to head back to shore, never directly into the current.

Be respectful of the wildlife – You are in their home and they will be there! Always understand the environment that you are stepping into and what animals are regulars in the area. Have a plan should you encounter the local wildlife and how to handle any emergency situation.  Lakes, rivers and oceans are amazing places to visit and spend the holiday. Be sure to always treat these areas with a high level of respect and don’t ever let your guard down.

Follow these simple rules, explain the rules to your kids and enjoy your holiday! Oh, and … don’t forget your sunscreen!

Guest Post by Stephanie Miller, Altanta-based Aquatics Director and Fitness Instructor 

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