Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

Summer Water Safety Means: Know your Limitations

Image of Military personnel participating in a swim call. Sailors assigned to the Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Olympia (SSN 717) participate in a swim call in the Pacific Ocean, July 31, 2018 (Photo by: Navy Fire Control Technician Senior Chief Vien Nguyen).

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety | Summer Safety Toolkit

Swimming in a pool, a lake, a pond, or an ocean is the height of cool summer fun but swimming also has its dangers.

Open waters with strong tides are risky for even the most experienced swimmers. The most placid pools can be very dangerous for young children. Alcohol always raises the threat level for swimmers.

And complacency of any kind creates potential problems around the water.

"The most important thing to remember is how unpredictable it can be." said Marine Staff Sgt. Houston Lindemann, senior non-commissioned officer in charge of beach lifeguards at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

"Always check the currents and weather conditions at the location you plan to swim," Lindemann said.

"Once you find that conditions are safe, check for the closest lifeguards to where you will be swimming. Swimming at beaches, lakes, or pools with lifeguards on duty is the best way to stay safe," he added.

A military personnel being a lifeguard
Marine lifeguards with Headquarters Support Battalion’s Beach Detachment, watch over the shore of Onslow Beach aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina (Photo by: Marine Cp. Jackeline Perez Rivera, Marine Corps Installations East).

Jim VanHoesen, a lifeguard at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., said: "You need to know the body of water and the shoreline."

VanHoesen suggested that another core precaution is "to get a formal training course in swimming for the entire family." The Red Cross provides many courses on swimming for beginners as do many base pools.

In the pool at Holloman, parents are told to watch out for their children at all times and not to count on the lifeguard as a babysitter. "We have an arm's length rule," VanHoesen explained: Adults always need to be within an arm's length of a child in case of trouble.

That rule exists because toddlers and children are silent drowners. They do not splash about or cry for help but go silently straight to the bottom. It all can happen in a matter of seconds.

What should you know before you jump into that inviting pool? "Always know the depth of the pool," VanHoesen said, and don't jump headfirst the first time. Know where the ladders and lifeguard stations are located.

Military personnel jumping off a boat
U.S. Coast Guard Academy Cadets and Coast Guard Tall Ship Eagle (WIX 327) crewmembers participate in a swim call in the Atlantic July 10, 2019 (Photo by: Navy Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ruben Reed).

Before you even leave the house, VanHoesen said, bring provisions to "stay hydrated, bring sunscreen and layers of clothes should the weather change."

When swimming at beaches that do not have lifeguards, "it is extremely important to know your limitations," Lindemann said. "Do not do more than you are capable of. It is also important to know how to spot rips and tide changes when swimming at unguarded beaches," he added.

Rip currents "are strong, localized, and narrow currents of water that move directly away from shore, cutting through the lines of breaking waves like a river running out to sea," LIndemann explained.

If caught in a rip current, he offered this advice: The best practice is to relax and swim parallel to the shore until free from it. Do not tire yourself out by trying to swim directly back to the shore.

Here are some other tips to keep you and your family safe while in or near the water:

  1. Watch out for the "dangerous toos": too tired, too cold, too far from safety, too much sun and too much strenuous activity.
  2. Have a means of summoning help (such as a mobile phone) close by. Water emergencies often happen quickly and unexpectedly.
  3. Get trained in first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillator (AED) use.
  4. Always swim with a partner, especially in open water.
  5. Never swim when you are tired, under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or medication.
  6. Observe all posted warning signs.
  7. Do not run around the pool deck; it is wet and likely slippery.
  8. Do not let children roughhouse or play underwater breath-holding games.
  9. Watch the weather and stay out of the water during thunderstorms.
  10. Always make young children, inexperienced swimmers, and non-swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets whenever they are in, on, or around the water.
  11. Fence pools and spas with adequate barriers to prevent unsupervised access.
  12. Teach children to stay away from pool drains and other openings that create suction, which could lead to drowning.
  13. Know what kinds of animals are in the water with you and which to avoid.

 

You also may be interested in...

Avoid summertime food poisoning with these easy tips

Article
7/9/2021
Someone cooking on a grill

Food safety in the summer is just as important as sunscreen

Recommended Content:

Nutritional Fitness | Summer Safety | Summer Safety Toolkit

Warning: Fireworks Are Dangerous (and Can Be Traumatic for Some)

Article
7/2/2021
Picture of fireworks

Fireworks safety is no joke. Keep children away and watch for duds.

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety | Summer Safety Toolkit

Summer Safety

Video
6/30/2021
Summer Safety

Enjoying summer safely - like drinking plenty of water, wearing sunscreen, and wearing a life jacket around water - is the best way to enjoy summer.

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety | Summer Safety Toolkit

Extreme Heat Safety Tips: Checking In with Older Adults

Infographic
6/29/2021
Extreme Heat Safety Tips: Checking In with Older Adults

If you have an older adult (age 65 and older) in your family, neighborhood, or community, check in with them during extreme heat, when temperatures are more hot or humid than normal. Older adults are more likely to experience heat-related health problems. Remember! Heat-related deaths and illnesses are preventable Ask yourself the following questions.

Recommended Content:

Extreme Heat | Summer Safety

Extreme Heat: Safety Tips

Infographic
6/21/2021
Extreme Heat: Safety Tips

Heat-related deaths and illnesses are preventable. Follow these tips to keep yourself and others safe.

Recommended Content:

Extreme Heat | Summer Safety

Extreme Heat: Safety Tips for Older Adults

Infographic
6/21/2021
Extreme Heat: Safety Tips for Older Adults

Older adults are more likely to suffer from heat-related health problems, according to the CDC. This infographic offers safety tips for older adults.

Recommended Content:

Extreme Heat | Summer Safety

Think Sunscreen and Water for Summer Sun Safety

Article
6/16/2021
SPF written in sunblock on someone's arm

Sun safety tips to keep you aware and healthy

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety | Extreme Heat | Summer Safety Toolkit

Safety tips for the 101 critical days of summer

Article
6/3/2021
Food on a grill, a sparkler, and a child in a swimming pool

Summer safety is no accident. Tips for a safe 101 days of summer.

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety | Extreme Heat | Summer Safety Toolkit

WHEC Infographic

Infographic
5/19/2021
WHEC Infographic

Social media graphic from the Consortium for Health and Military Performance on extreme heat showing a service member looking towards sunset. “Warrior Heat and Exertion-Related Event Collaborative Educational tools, Provider Tools, Resources ”

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety Toolkit | Summer Safety

Heat Acclimatization

Infographic
5/19/2021
Heat Acclimatization

Infographic on Heat acclimatization to prevent heat illness.

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety Toolkit | Summer Safety

Summer’s here – stay safe!

Article
7/8/2020
Image of Coast Guard employee talking with man on boat

Remember these tips while enjoying the summer

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Public Health | Summer Safety | Total Force Fitness

Summer Safety 2018 Hydration Safety

Infographic
7/10/2018
Summer Safety 2018 Hydration Safety

This infographic provides information on ways to stay hydrated while out in the sun.

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety

Summer Safety 2018 Water Safety

Infographic
6/16/2018
Summer Safety 2018 Water Safety

This infographic provides information on ways to protect yourself while you're in or near water.

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety

Summer Safety 2018 Sun Safety

Infographic
6/6/2018
Summer Safety 2018 Sun Safety

This infographic provides information on ways to protect yourself from the sun's harmful rays.

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety

Zika: Protecting Children from Mosquito Bites at Camp

Fact Sheet
7/20/2016

This CDC fact sheet targeted to parents, provides tips to keep their children healthy while at camp.

Recommended Content:

Preventing Mosquito-Borne Illnesses | Zika Virus | Summer Safety | Mosquito-Borne Illnesses
<< < 1 2 3 4 > >> 
Showing results 31 - 45 Page 3 of 4
Refine your search
Last Updated: September 01, 2021

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.