As the summer heat takes hold, more families will be heading for relief at their local watering holes. But all Kentucky residents should make sure to take precautions. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), nearly half of all drownings occur in natural settings including rivers, lakes, and oceans.
The CDC offers these tips for summer water safety:
- Wear a life jacket even when you’re on a boat – In 2010, 72% of boating deaths were caused by drowning, and a shocking 88% of those victims were not wearing life jackets. Be sure to wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets. Beware that blow-up mattresses or water wings, foam toys (“noodles”), or inner-tubes do not take the place of life jackets.
- Avoid alcohol when swimming or boating – When boating, alcohol increases the risks of an accident, whether it’s the operator or passenger(s) who are drinking.
- Use the buddy system for swimming – Make sure someone knows where you are at all times and know the terrain. Scan swimming areas for drop-offs and be aware of hidden obstacles in the water.
- Watch for rip tides – Rip tides, or currents, can occur along any coastline. Signs of a rip tide include discolored water or water that is foamy and choppy and moving in a narrow channel, away from the shore. If you find yourself caught in a rip tide, remember to swim parallel to shore until you’re outside the current, when you can swim back in.
Following these four tips can help you avoid many of the common water accidents. Sadly, these problems lead to drownings every summer, so plan now to stay safe.
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