Water Safety on the Crystal Coast

Water activities like swimming and boating are a fun way to cool off in the hot summer months. Accidents can happen in a matter of seconds in a few inches of water, whether it is in buckets, bathtubs, pools, lakes or the ocean. Ensure you and your family’s safety with multiple layers of protection.

Basic Precautions
  • Establish rules for your family: Teach kids to ask permission to go near water, and when they’re in the water, have them stay close enough to make eye contact with you.
  • Use the buddy system: Teach kids to always stay with a buddy and never play in the water alone.
  • Check weather forecasts, and keep an eye on changing conditions: Water conducts electricity, including lightning, so stay away from water if you hear or see a storm.
  • Protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays by applying sunblock and reapplying often: Hats, sunglasses and clothing provide added protection.
  • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water. Adding lemon or instant coconut powder provides electrolytes beneficial to hydration. Lightheadedness or nausea are common signs of dehydration and overheating.
Smart Swimming
  • Enroll kids in swimming lessons: Studies have shown that children ages 1 to 4 may be less likely to drown if they have had formal swimming instruction.
  • Never leave kids unattended: Supervising adults should be focused on the kids without distractions, such as reading, texting or visiting with other adults.
  • Keep kids away from pool drains and suction fittings: These fixtures can create entrapments—when the force of the suction holds the body against the fitting or when an article of clothing, jewelry, hair or limb gets caught in the drain.
  • Don’t let kids hyperventilate: Kids often breathe rapidly or deeply before breath-holding and underwater swimming contests. This can lead to passing out and drowning, known as “shallow water blackout.”
Beach Practices
  • Direct kids to a designated, supervised area to swim: teach them to stay within sight of a lifeguard or supervising adult.
  • Check the water’s depth before you let kids jump in: Make sure hidden rocks, sharp shells or other hazards aren’t present.
  • Check the surf: Watch for dangerous waves and signs of rip currents. Some examples are water that is discolored, choppy, foamy or filled with debris, or moving in a channel away from shore. Undertows and big waves can be deadly, even for strong swimmers. Get free of a current by swimming parallel to shore; once free, swim diagonally toward shore.
  • Teach kids the meanings of colored beach flags and to obey them: Coastal communities across the globe have adopted a flag-warning system developed by the United States Lifesaving Association in conjunction with the International Lifesaving Federation. If warning flags are up or if the surf looks rough, keep kids out of the water.
Smooth Boating
  • Always equip kids with a life jacket that fits properly: The jacket should be snug enough that it won’t slip over the head, and the straps and buckles should be securely fastened. Inflatable toys and water wings, which can deflate or slip off, are not recommended as substitutes.
  • Avoid harm: Teach kids to stay away from propellers and not to jump off the front of a moving watercraft.
  • Don’t overload a boat: If it turns over, teach kids to stay with the boat until help arrives.
  • Radio: Keep a radio on board to check weather reports.
  • Beware of “boater’s fatigue,”: When wind, noise, heat and the vibration of the boat combine to wear down kids when they’re on the water.
Vacationing with at a Home with a Pool
  • Use “touch supervision”: With young children, make sure you are close enough to reach them at all times.
  • Walk: Teach kids to walk, not run, around pools or on docks.
  • Discourage unsafe horseplay: Pushing or holding others under water is not recommended.