Most people think that if my swimmer learns to swim in a pool, they will know exactly what they need to do when swimming in open water. While learning swimming skills in a pool is a fantastic start, as parents, there is more teaching we need to do to ensure our swimmers know how to stay safe in open water due to different features that are not in a pool setting. Check out these three tips that you swimmer MUST know about Lakes, Rivers, & Streams.
Tip 1: Always check the weather before going swimming.
So often we find that our weather changes in a day. Growing up on the coast, we would sometimes have very cold rainy mornings, but by mid-day, the bright sun came out, dried up the rainy weather, and created the perfect beach day. After moving to Vermont, I quickly learned about mountain weather - we could wake up to the perfect lake or boating day, spend a few hours in the sun, but then my 4pm, without fail, a thunderstorm we start rolling in.
Regardless of where you live, if you are planning to head out to the lake, a river, jump in a watering hole, or go fishing in streams, be sure to check the weather. Meteorologists do their best to give us the most accurate weather information and while we know it may not be 100% accurate, it's important to be aware of what could happen. You should never be in, on, or around the water when a storm hits.
Tip 2: Always swim in the designated swimming area when a lifeguard is on duty.
Lakes that are safe for swimming always have a designated swimming area. This is an area that is a safe place to swim because it is maintained by the lifeguard staff. Hazards are moved out of this area and boats are permitted from coming into this area.
Keep in mind, if you plan to go boating, fishing, or kayaking in a river or stream, there is typically NOT a designated swimming area. This doesn't mean to can't jump in for a dip, but it does mean that you must be aware of any potential hazards while swimming in open water.
Tip 3: Get familiar with your swimming environment.
Regardless of whether you are swimming in a designated swimming area, boating in a river, or fishing in a local stream, you must become familiar with your swimming environment. Learn about the area before you go swimming. While at the lake, consider asking a lifeguard about any sudden drop-offs, currents, rapids, debris, etc. that you should be aware of so you can make water-safe decisions.
Learn something new? Interested in learning more tips on what to teach your children about water safety? Sign up for our weekly newsletter!
Meet Sabrina Keller,