There are hundreds of places to go for a nice swim throughout the waterways of the Pacific Northwest. While most trips result in happy memories, too many families lose a loved one due to an avoidable drowning or water accident. As you venture out to your favorite spot, be sure to keep an extra eye on the kids and follow these safe swimming guidelines.
Nobody is Drown Proof
Make sure everyone in your family is a good swimmer, including the adults. If someone doesn’t know how to swim, they shouldn’t be in the water.
Life Jackets are for Everyone
Many lives could be saved every year if people simply used life jackets. Experienced swimmers as well as those new to the water should wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket whenever possible. This includes kids, tweens, teens, and adults.
Follow the Rules
When possible, go swimming in designated areas with lifeguards. In addition always keep these safety tips in mind:
- Swim with a buddy (try to team one adult with one kid, if possible).
- Never leave young children unattended (even if they aren’t in the water).
- Avoid alcohol when swimming (you need to be coherent at all times).
- Actively supervise young children (even if there is a lifeguard).
Hot Weather and Cold Water
The two are a dangerous combination. That’s because Oregon and Washington’s waterways can be very cold, even in the summer heat. That cold water, along with currents and underwater hazards are responsible for dozens (if not hundreds) of drownings every year.
What to do in an Emergency
- Always have a phone handy and someone on standby to call 9-1-1.
- If a child is missing always check the water first.
- Have extra life vests or floatation devices handy in case of an emergency.
- If someone is in trouble try reaching them with an object rather than swimming out yourself. All too often both the person in trouble and rescuer drown during rescue attempts.
Coastal Has Your Summertime Supplies
You’ll find life jackets and other summertime camping and water-fun gear at your local Coastal Farm & Ranch. While you’re there, be sure to check out your store’s lineup of hunting and fishing equipment, along with everything else you need to have safe and enjoyable summer.