If you camp near a
stream, a lake, or the beach you need to be aware of water safety. If you
have a pool or a Jacuzzi - study this page well. Most people feel comfortable while their
kids wade in shallow water. If you can't see a person in water their life
is at risk.
I am a great swimmer
and I love the water. I have been referred to as a fish. I do not have
an unnatural fear of the water but I do respect bodies of water and treat them
with caution.I hope that this web
page will help you to do the same.
Before you camp near water:
Learn to swim - There is no better way to protect your family than to learn
to swim and to enroll your children in classes to learn swimming.
Teach your children to always swim with a buddy - and do the same! Adults
drown all the time so don't assume that you are safe because you are an
adult or because you are a good swimmer.
Know your limits and stay within them - If your friend is a great swimmer,
don't try to match their skill. Be honest and turn back when you need to!
Watch out for the dangerous 2's - 2 tired. 2 cold, 2 far from shore, 2
much sun, 2 much strenuous activity. You may be a great swimmer, but these
factors can take a big toll on your swimming ability.
Swim in supervised areas only. You may be a confident swimmer but your
children or friends may be lacking basic skills. Many areas have dangerous
problems you may not know about like rip tides. Always consult the lifeguard
before you enter the water.
Obey 'No Diving" signs. There may be many people diving in the area - but
that doesn't matter. The signs are there for a reason. Go to the bottom
section of this page if you need more information on this topic.
Don't mix alcohol or any other drug and swimming - Anything that can impair
your judgment can be a fatal mistake in water. You may feel confident driving
under the influence (bad mistake) - but swimming intoxicated is even worse.
If nobody is there when you are no longer able to function - you don't
crash into a tree. You can easily drown.
Always wear a life jacket when boating or fishing. Good swimmers seem to
forget that people knocked unconscious don't swim well. A good life jacket
will support your head above water even if you are not conscious.
Know local weather conditions - some areas have regular weather patterns.
In the gulf area of Florida there is a major thunder storm every day at
the same time during summer weather. The sky may be blue and clear one
moment and black and stormy the next. The locals know when to seek shelter
- but do you?
Know how to prevent, recognize, and respond to emergencies.
If you see a person drowning - use caution if you try to rescue this person.
Throw out a raft, a life preserver, anything you think may float. If you
must reach out to a person who is drowning make sure you have a good grip
on a solid object. There are many people who have drowned trying to rescue
a drowning person. Don't let a person drown - but do not attempt to rescue
anyone unless you have a good grip on a person on shore...
Home Safety Issues from HomeSafe
Always watch children near water - ALWAYS.
Take the child with you if you answer the phone at bath time.
Diaper buckets should have a firm lid and be stored up high.
Indoor spas should have a lockable door and be emptied immediately after
use. Outdoor spas should be fenced the same as swimming pools.
Empty paddling pools immediately after use.
Cover post holes or trenches during building.
Cover outdoor ponds with a fixed grill.
After heavy rain, check your yard and empty any rain that collects in containers.
Remember that flotation aids are not lifesaving devices. Stay with your
child when swimming in the pool.
Learn how to give resuscitation or take a refresher course. In an emergency,
take the child to the phone and call the ambulance. Directions will be
given to you over the phone.
Kayack safety provided by The
When visiting, ask about any drowning hazards. Many children have drowned
at friends' homes because their parents didn't know there was a pool, spa
or pond on the property.
In any but the most benign conditions,
A kayak or canoe in good, serviceable condition, with plenty of secure
buoyancy, fore and aft
A spraycover that fits your boat
A personal flotation device and whistle
Clothing suitable for the conditions
A bailer or pump
An accessible spare paddle, min. of 1 per group
The author of this information also suggests that hypothermia is
the biggest threat to new kayackers - so please read the information on
that as well!
an accessible flare pack
a flashlight, (even if you are only planning a daytime trip)
self rescue aids
rain gear, and extra clothing in a waterproof bag
a minimum of 25 feet of tow line
charts and tide tables, current tables if appropriate
matches or a lighter
first aid kit
a weather radio
This section is provided by Water
Rescue Safety Basics
The information provided here may seem a bit
technical - but it all adds up to the same thing. If you are camping and
heavy rain forces you to leave - do not attempt to cross waterways with
heavy drainage. You may cross with no problem, you may be seen on the local
news being rescued from your vehicle, and your body may make the local
news as it is dragged from a creek 20 miles downstream.
Each gallon of water weighs about 8 pounds. A cubic foot of water weighs
Water wicks heat away from our bodies 25 times faster than air. Without
thermal protection, a person in water with a temperature of 70 degrees
Fahrenheit can become hypothermic in five minutes or less.
Hypothermia affects victims and rescuers alike robbing their ability to
think clearly and reducing strength, coordination and stamina. The effects
are more pronounced in colder water, combined with wind chill and cold
air temperatures, and by the amount of exertion required by rescuers and
At 3 miles per hour, one cubic foot of water exerts approximately
17 pounds per square inch of force on our legs and 34 pounds per square
inch on our bodies. At 6 mph, the force water exerts almost quadruples
to 67 pounds per square inch on our legs and 134 pounds per square inch
on our bodies.
One foot of water can displace approximately 1,500 pounds of vehicle weight.
In moving water, this force plus the buoyancy of vehicles explains why
even heavy vehicles can easily be swept away by what may seem like a small
amount of water.
These powerful forces in flood currents also displace soil under roadways,
bridges and underground spaces. Roadways can be washed away, underground
storm drains become deep, open trenches, and manhole covers, drain grates
and metal access lids weighing hundreds of pounds can be forced out of
their resting places and washed away. These spaces become underground tombs
to trap and drown victims and rescuers.
Debris can become a trap or hindrance in water incidents.
Debris is found in three levels: on the surface, suspended in the water
and on the bottom. It is important to remember that just about any material
or object may be in the three types of debris loads in water. The suspended
and bottom loads are invisible to you and thus are very dangerous.
Pollutants are common today in runoff and floods. Expect chemicals and
other pollution to be in the water you train and operate in.
Cold Water Safety
Cold water causes death in nearly half of
the drowning cases reported - a life jacket provides little help but the
tips below could save you and your family.
was working at a park where we had several tragic deaths by drowning.
Tighten your clothes and
try to cover your head.
Act quickly before losing
use of your hands. Right a capsized boat or climb atop it.
Don't swim unless
it's to reach a nearby boat. Swimming saps heat and cuts survival time
Stay as still as possible.
Movement robs you of heat.
Once out of the water,
rescuers should not apply heat to arms or legs, or give massages or hot
baths. All can cause heart attacks in hypothermia cases. The best way to
warm a victim is with body-to-body contact and a tight blanket.
One young man was in
a river with many other people trying to beat the heat on a July day. He
dove beneath the surface attempting to cool off and he never came up. His
family assumed that he was with other people and he was never missed. Another
park visitor discovered his body with her foot several hours later.
A young man dove off
of a rock in this same swimming area a year later. This rock was a popular
diving spot. Most of the areas around this rock were quite deep - but this
17 year old dove into a rock that was a few inches from the surface. He
did not die - right away. People on the scene did all they could, our staff
did all they could, the medivac crue that arrived did all they could. This
man died a painful and pointless death. He was alert and aware up until
the end. I can only hope that his friends would be more aware of what diving
in an unknown area can do.
I do not wish to scare
anyone. I have dived into a dangerous area myself. I did check the water
depth first and I dove without incident. I was lucky. I found out later
that a kid was killed diving in the same place after hitting a submerged
log. There are no guarantees. Another friend of mine got a ticket for attempted
suicide from jumping from the same place. He was not attempting suicide
- but if the threat of a $100.00 ticket will keep a few people from doing
something this stupid, so be it!