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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Safety tips for water activities

Oklahoma lakes and boats
Posted at 12:50 PM, May 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-28 13:50:42-04

TULSA, Okla. — Whether you spend your days swimming, floating down a river, diving, or boating, water activities are a favorite pastime for any summer vacation. However, doing anything on or near water can be dangerous, especially for young children.

Before you head out to the beach or any of Oklahoma's rivers and lakes or even your backyard pool, make sure to brush up on current safety tips to keep you and your family safe.

Here are some pool safety tips:

  • Swim in safe or designated swimming areas only since not every location can have a lifeguard present.
  • Know your limits. Swimming in your backyard pool is very different than swimming in lakes and rivers.
  • If you're not a strong swimmer or just learning how to swim, don't swim in water that is too deep.
  • Be prepared for emergencies. It's always a good idea to have someone along that is trained in life-saving skills, such as CPR.

READ MORE: Community pools to open on staggered schedule, offers lifeguard hiring incentives

Since 2015, the state of Oklahoma saw 200 total water accidents, 36 of them being fatal. 43 deaths were also recorded in that time. Here are more tips to prevent further accidents:

  • Avoid swimming in a polluted pool or algae-affected lake water. Check your lake using our lake conditions search function for the latest information on blue-green algae.
  • Always watch children when they are in or near the water. Do not get distracted by phone calls, text messages, or talking to others.
  • Think before you dive. Only dive in areas that are known to be safe. Diving injuries can be severe, so check the water's depth before you dive in and identify any hazards before diving in.
  • If you are boating, everyone should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket. In Oklahoma, all vessels must carry one wearable floatation device for each person on board. All children under 13 years of age must wear their life jackets at all times.
  • Respect all pool, river, and beach closures.

READ MORE: Broken Arrow mother warns of boating, carbon monoxide dangers after son's death

It's also important to take care of yourself while doing water activities. While out on or near the water, you must be able to think quickly. Here are tips for personal safety:

  • Practice the buddy system when swimming.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. It's easy to get dehydrated when you're active and out in the sun all day. If you start feeling dizzy, lightheaded, or nauseous, you're probably dehydrated. Drink more fluids or seek medical help immediately.
  • Watch the sun and prevent sunburns. The sun reflecting off water can intensify the sun's rays, so reapply sunscreen often.
  • Shower before and after swimming. Make sure to wash any cuts and scrapes with clean water and soap.
  • Be aware that alcohol and water activities do not mix. One-third of all boating deaths are alcohol-related.

Finally, check the local weather conditions and forecast before swimming, floating, or boating. Water and weather conditions can be unpredictable. Doing any water activities while there are strong winds or thunderstorms can be dangerous.

Find all these tips and more on TravelOK's website.

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