Summer Safety Series – Dipping Your Toes Into Water Safety

The summer is meant to be spent outside, enjoying what nature has to offer us. In cities with access to lakes, rivers, or even the ocean, there are even more opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. Whatever body of water we head to, we must be aware of the possible dangers.

  1. Boating

As the busiest boating weekend of the year approaches, please keep in mind some general boating safety.

  • Children must be securely fastened into their life jackets at all times. Be sure to find a life jacket that securely fits your child, as a jacket that is too large will only be a hindrance if they fall into the water.
  • Adults are not required to wear life jackets; however, the leading cause of boating fatalities is drowning after being ejected from the watercraft.
  • Adults and teenagers also must be warned to avoid drinking and using drugs while operating a boat. The North American Safe Boating Campaign is working with the U.S. Coast Guard, is coordinating Operation Dry Water three-day weekend. This enforcement effort will be held from June 30 to July 2 in every state.

Please take the extra few moments to keep everyone aboard your watercraft safe. Whether it’s strapping on life jackets or taking the party ashore, it will prevent an avoidable tragedy.

  1. Swimming – At Home

Having a pool at home gives you the accessibility to summer fun, without the travel. However, pools can be incredibly dangerous for children if we don’t take the proper precautions.

  • Following Virginia laws, there should be a fence, no shorter than 4 feet installed around all at home pools. These laws apply to both in ground and above ground pools.
  • Gates should be lockable, and there should be no gaps in the fence larger than 2 inches.
  • There should always be rescue equipment nearby in case of an accident, including a life preserver.
  • All swimmers should be closely supervised at all times, and the supervising adult should have a phone on hand in case of an emergency.

Being at home does not decrease the risks that swimming poses in a public environment. Slipping, drowning, or other physical injuries are always possible, even when we take precautions. Children should never be left unsupervised in these circumstances.

  1. Swimming – Open Bodies of Water

Swimming in rivers and oceans poses dangers for both adults and children. There are a few basic safety rules that we have to keep in mind.

  • Never swim alone, even the best swimmers can be overtaken by the current or waves. If this does happen to you, swim with the current along the shore until you can push or swim yourself to safety.
  • Younger children should be closely supervised while in or near the water, keeping no more than an arm’s length away at all times.
  • If you spot anyone in trouble, intervene at your own risk. Know where help is at all times. Have the number for water rescue in your phone, and be aware of where lifeguards are located.

If you are local to the Richmond area, the James River can be especially dangerous at this time of year. Though the city recommends that there be no tubing on the river, there are still plenty of other risks. Before you head out to the river, check the James River Watch. It will give you all the safe areas to participate in all of your water activities.

Here at Reid Goodwin we would like to remind everyone to stay safe and aware this summer. If you ever find yourself or a family member injured, please contact one of our experienced attorneys to assist you.