The Person Most Responsible for Other People’s Water Safety is YOU

YOU are the Most Responsible Person for Other People’s Water Safety!

It is good to be cautious when enjoying water sports, and take action to avoid the pit falls that can lead to an accident or injury in the water. If you are a good swimmer, your responsibilities are doubled because you should be observant and concerned for others in your group, or even those you may not even know.

Some things you might want to watch for in other water participants to warn or protect them are:

Diving

Numerous accidents happen each year as a result of diving into the water. Some of these cause permanent damage, paralysis, and even death. Many of these accidents are because people fail to heed warnings or ignore “no diving” or “no swimming” signs. Unfamiliar areas where the depths are not known should be good reason to avoid any diving.

If waters are not immaculately clear, there is no way to know what lies beneath the surface. A deep area of water may have rocks jutting up in some places within a few feet of the surface, too. Even if a person jumps in feet first to test the depths, they can be injured severely because of unseen conditions.

Overexposure to the Sun

Even people with existing tans can get a sunburn when in and around water. The sun intensifies when it reflects off the water. Many times while people are splashing around in cool water, they don’t realize that the sun is burning them. Later on is when they suffer. You should suggest they apply sunscreen often and if they are beginning to look red, you should advise them to seek shade.

Dehydration

When a person is working on dry land in hot weather, they realize when the sun is sucking the moisture out of their bodies. In the water, the cooling of the skin disguises the fact that activity and exertion are causing perspiration that is being washed away. Drinking fluids during a long excursion is essential.

If a person does not replace the body’s liquids, they can become lightheaded and nauseous. Overheating can take place without a person even knowing it is happening.

Hypothermia and Cold Water

Some people want to get an early start on the swimming season, and they might decide to brave the cool temperatures in the spring or fall when conditions are not the best. On land, seventy degrees is warm enough to be comfortable. In the water, it feels cold to many people. Body temperatures drop rapidly in cool water.

A lot of activity cools the body down faster than standing still. If a person begins to shake, their muscles cramp up, or their lips begin to turn blue, the early stages of hypothermia might be starting. You should observe this and ask anyone who displays these symptoms to get out of the water fast.

Alcohol

Many a mishap on the water involves the misuse of alcohol, just as the same contributes to automobile accidents. Current statistics indicate that approximately one-half of all water-related deaths are related to alcohol. Because of teenage drinking, one-half of all adolescent male drownings are attributable to alcohol abuse.

You won’t always be popular if you warn people about their drinking, but you will at least have done what you could to avert disaster.

The Pilot of the Boat

If you are in charge of a boat and have riders who want to take a dip when they get hot, you should be prepared with life jackets as well as throwing out at least one flotation device with a rope attached.

Anytime someone is swimming around your boat, you should display the red swimmers flag so that other boats will know to come by slowly and be looking for people in the water.

Staying aware when you are on the water is critical, and when you are watching out for others, you must be in tune with your own abilities. The Coast Guard has a condition called “boater’s fatigue” that is caused by the activities on the water during a long period. Wind, heat, noise, vibration of the boat, and glare of reflected sunlight all contribute to the condition.

If you are not at your best, it is hard to watch out for others or even yourself. Don’t continue if you are becoming too tired to do your job properly. If other members of your party want to continue with activities, you should have a dependable second in command to take over for you, or you should just overrule everyone else.

A closing thought is that you should always know where every member of your group is at all times. A boat with several riders and everyone talking can lead to someone being left in the water. Also, a swimmer can become injured if you start the motor while they are still in the water. So never start up the boat until everyone is on board, seated and ready to go.

Have fun and stay safe – that’s a winning combination!


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