Water Safety Tips

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by Portsmouth Police Department

WVEC.com

Posted on June 20, 2014 at 2:00 PM

General Water Safety Tips:

•    Never leave a child or children unattended near water. Avoid distractions and never drink alcohol when supervising children in and around the water.
•    Teach your child/children how to swim.  This can be all the difference if a child is face with sinking or swimming.
•    Learn how to perform CPR.  It can and will save a life.
•    Have all children use life jackets approved by the U.S. Coast Guard, especially if they cannot swim. Inflatable pool toys are not safety devices.
•    Get out of the water immediately if you see lightning or hear thunder.
•    Always have your cell phone handy in case you have an emergency and need to call for police or EMS assistance.
•    If your child goes missing ALWAYS check the water first! It only takes a few moments for someone to drown.

Pool Safety Tips:

The American Red Cross advises that many children who drown in a pool were out of sight for less than five minutes and have one or both parents nearby.

•    If you own a pool or live in a community where a pool is located, be sure that it is appropriately secured so children cannot enter alone.   If locks or fencing are damaged or broken around the community pool be sure to notify the property management company to have it repaired.  If you own a pool be sure that the fence is in good repair and that it has a working lock on the gate. 
•    Keep additional safety equipment near the pool. This should include reaching equipment, life jackets, first aid kit, and a cell phone. 
•    Be sure to only swim in community pools when lifeguards are on duty.  If you notice a swimmer struggling in the water, be sure that the lifeguards are alerted immediately. 
•    If you swim in a private pool, always have a swim buddy.  NEVER swim alone!
•    NEVER horseplay in and around the water.
•    Never swim in the water if you are intoxicated or have taken medication that can cause drowsiness.

Beach and Lake Safety Tips:

•    Swim only in areas that are designated as safe.
•    Only swim when lifeguards are on duty.
•    Check weather conditions before traveling to the beach or before swimming.  Many people forget that strong winds and brewing storms can cause conditions at the beach or lake to be dangerous.
•    Wear a life jacket when going out on a boat or participating in any water sports.
•    Never swim in the water when you are intoxicated or have taken medication that can cause drowsiness.
•    Be mindful of marine life in and around the water that can be hazardous to swimmers such as water moccasins, jelly fish, etc.
•    NEVER horseplay in and around the water.

What do Beach Flags Mean:


Different beaches use different color flags to warning those who swim, play or visit the beach.  Below are the most common colored flags used and what they signify:
•    Green: calm conditions
•    Yellow: medium hazard
•    Single Red: high hazard such as strong surf or currents
•    Double Red: beach is closed to the public
•    Purple: Flown with either Red or Yellow: dangerous marine life such as jellyfish, stingrays or other dangerous fish, not including sharks

Rip Current Safety Tips:

Rip currents are narrow channels of fast-moving water that can occur at any beach that has breaking waves.  Rip currents can move as fast as eight feet per second. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report that on average, about 100 people are killed by rip currents every year in the U.S.
•    Don’t fight a rip current by attempting to swim straight back to shore. This can cause overwhelming fatigue in a very short time. Swim parallel to shore and try to swim back at an angle.
•    Remember to remain calm if you are caught in a rip current.
•    If you cannot swim, try to float out of the rip current.
•    Rip currents are not always easy to spot, but signs of rip currents may include:
1.    a line of seaweed, foam, or debris that moves steadily out to sea
2.    darker or murkier colored water than the surrounding water
3.    waves are choppy or lower
4.    churning water
5.    a break in incoming wave pattern

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