Lake Swimming and Boating Safety Tips

Here are some lake swimming and boating safety tips to help you and your family enjoy a fun, safe vacation, in or on the water.

  • Learn to swim and swim well. One of the best things anyone can do to stay safe in and around the water is learn to swim. Enroll your children in American Red Cross Learn-to-Swim courses.
  • Select a supervised area. A trained lifeguard who can help in an emergency is the best safety factor. Even good swimmers can have an unexpected medical emergency in the water.
  • Always swim with a buddy; never swim alone. No one, including adults, should ever swim alone. Adults should practice “reach supervision,” which means to be within arm’s length of a child in case an emergency occurs.
  • Outfit everyone with the proper gear. Everyone, including strong swimmers, should use a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device when boating.
  • Alcohol and boating don't mix. Alcohol impairs your judgment, balance and coordination—over 50 percent of drownings result from boating incidents involving alcohol.
  • Develop a float plan. Anytime you go out in a boat, give a responsible person details about where you will be and how long you will be gone.
  • Find a boating course in your area. These courses teach about navigation rules, emergency procedures and the effects of wind, water conditions and weather.
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