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Youth Water Safety

What do surfing, fishing, water skiing, and swimming have in common? They are all lots of fun…and they all take place in, on, or around the water! Water activities are a great way to stay cool and have a good time with your friends or your family. Take along these tips — and your common sense — to get wet, make waves, and have a blast!

Top Ten Tips

  • DO learn to swim. If you like to have a good time doing water activities, being a strong swimmer is a must.
  • DO take a friend along. Even though you may be a good swimmer, you never know when you may need help. Having friends around is safer and just more fun!
  • DO know your limits. Watch out for the “too’s” — too tired, too cold, too far from safety, too much sun, too much hard activity.
  • DO swim in supervised (watched) areas only , and follow all signs and warnings.
  • DO wear a life jacket when boating , jet skiing, water skiing, rafting, or fishing.
  • DO stay alert to currents. They can change quickly! If you get caught in a strong current, don’t fight it. Swim parallel to the shore until you have passed through it. Near piers, jetties (lines of big rocks), small dams, and docks, the current gets unpredictable and could knock you around. If you find it hard to move around, head to shore. Learn to recognize and watch for dangerous waves and signs of rip currents — water that is a weird color, really choppy, foamy, or filled with pieces of stuff.
  • DO keep an eye on the weather. If you spot bad weather (dark clouds, lighting), pack up and take the fun inside.
  • DON’T mess around in the water. Pushing or dunking your friends can get easily out of hand.
  • DON’T dive into shallow water. If you don’t know how deep the water is, don’t dive.
  • DON’T float where you can’t swim. Keep checking to see if the water is too deep, or if you are too far away from the shore or the poolside.

Watch Out for Mother Nature…

Even if you are an Xpert, things that you can’t control can get you into trouble.

Look out for signs warning you that the water is not clean, because polluted water could make you sick. (And even if it is clean, try not to swallow it. Yuck!)

It’s also smart to keep clear of objects in the water like water plants and animals. They can cause problems for you so, if you see them — go the other way. (You’ve heard about what jellyfish and snapping turtles can do, right?)

Finally, if you’re outside, you need to guard against the sun. Those burning rays reflect off the water and sand onto you…and they can really spoil the fun! So, rub on some sunscreen to get sun proof.

The Deal on Water Parks

If you’ve ever been to a water park, you know that they are s-o-o much fun! Read these BAM! need-to-knows for having a great time on ride after ride.

Read all the signs before going on a ride. Make sure you are tall enough and old enough. Ask questions if you are not sure about how you’re supposed to go on the ride. (On most water slides, you should go down face up, arms crossed behind your head, and feet first with your ankles crossed.)

When you go from ride to ride, don’t run. It’s slippery!

Bumping into others on a slide can hurt. That’s why no “chains” of people are allowed on water rides. So, count five seconds after the rider ahead of you has gone before you take your turn.

Wear a life preserver — the park supplies it for a reason.

The Deal on Boating and Jet Skiing

Skimming over the water is a great ride. You probably aren’t driving a boat or jet ski yourself just yet, but they are lots of fun to ride with an adult! (Remember, they like to have fun too!) You and your parents can check the state rules for how old you have to be, and cruise through this boating site.

Stay alert! When you’re riding, keep a lookout for other boats, jet skiers, water skiers, divers, and swimmers. Who has the right-of-way? Generally, drivers should keep to their right when they are passing other boats — just like you do when you are walking in the hall at school.

Always ride at a speed that will let you stay in control so you can stop or go another way if you need to. It’s also not a good idea to jump wakes (tracks in the water left by other boats or jet skis) or speed through choppy water, because it’s easy to loose control.

Do not ride with a driver who has been drinking alcohol.

Make sure you know and practice what to do if someone falls out of the boat.

Some people teak surf (hold on to the back of the boat and then let go to ride the wave that the boat makes), but you shouldn’t copy them. Teak surfers get too close to the boat, don’t wear life jackets, and breathe exhaust fumes (chemicals) that the boat makes. Sounds like a bad idea to us…

There are a whole lot of ways to have a great time in the water. So, get out there and…

  • Swim like a fish!
  • Feel the rush of riding the rapids while white water rafting!
  • Catch a wave! Go surfing!
  • Break the wake!
  • Make a splash! Try diving!