Dive Feet First Into Summer With These Water Safety Tips

You feel it don’t you?

That itch to slather on some sunscreen and jump into whatever water’s nearby.

But for all the fun there is to be had, there’s the unfortunate possibility of drowning.

Apologies for the dark turn there. And we know, we know. It could never happen to you, right?

The fact is, nearly 4,000 people drown in the United States every year—each death easily preventable.

So, here are 8 things you can do to be more careful and still enjoy all that summer has to offer.

LEARN CPR

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) isn’t reserved for heart attacks. It can also save lives for those experiencing electrical shock, allergic reactions, drug overdoses.

And drowning.

Just like no one ever thinks they’ll drown, no one ever thinks they’ll be in a situation to help someone who is.

But studies show just how important this life-saving life skill is.

91% of would-be drowners survive after they’re pulled out of water when bystanders—not lifeguards or emergency medical professionals—perform this technique.

So go ahead and sign up for hands-on training or watch this video below.

You might be someone’s hero if you do.

And speaking of lifesavers…

KNOW YOUR PFDs (PERSONAL FLOATATION DEVICES)

Did you know there’s a difference between life jackets and life vests?

A BIG difference.

Life jackets are more buoyant, meaning they can more easily turn a face-down person face-up, making it easier for them to breathe. That’s why these are recommended for weak swimmers and younger children.

Life vests are recommended for those playing watersports like paddle boarding or wake surfing where there’s very little to no chance of becoming unconscious.

Now, we can all agree there’s no such thing as being too cautious in the matter of life and potential drowning. The important thing to do is wear your PFD of choice in large open bodies of water and make sure it fits snug.

For extra peace of mind, look for the United States Coast Guard (USCG) seal of approval when purchasing.

HEY! (Pay Attention.)

Contrary to what Hollywood shows, drowning isn’t some long, loud, drawn-out event.

You won’t see arms flailing for long or hear repeated cries for help.

That’s because it only takes:

  • ½ cup of water to cover your lungs
  • 60 seconds for an adult to drown
  • 20 seconds for a child to drown

The main takeaway from those freaky facts? Put down your book and avoid looking at your phone for any extended period of time if you’re with less talented swimmers.

But if you’re in the middle of a really good chapter, then…

HAVE SOMEONE GUARD YOU

Granted, the odds of drowning are relatively low.

But they’re shockingly low when there’s a lifeguard on duty. In fact, it’s estimated the chance of drowning at a beach or pool with trained lifeguards is less than 1 in 18 million!

If you put that into a calculator, that’s a .000000055555556% chance…nearly non-existent odds.

Seems like a pretty fair tradeoff in exchange for being told to walk instead of run around the pool.

WHISTLE IF YOU WAIL

If you start to drown, your first instinct is probably going to be to yell.

Don’t.

The wider you open your mouth, the more water you might swallow. And the more water you swallow, the more likely something bad will happen.

That’s why it’s recommended to attach a paddle whistle to your PFD.

These make sounds louder than any yell—and your mouth will be more tightly shut to keep water out—for just $10.

PUT UP A POOL FENCE

If you own a pool… we’re jealous.

But we’re also recommending you install a pool fence as an extra measure of safety.

Doing so:

  • Reduces the odds of drowning by 83%
  • Keeps unsupervised kids and strangers out of your pool
  • Minimizes your risk of being sued. It’s true. Even if a stranger trespasses on your property and requires medical attention from swimming in your pool, you can still be held liable.

For maximum effectiveness, ensure your pool fence is at least four feet high and opens out (not in) should it not latch properly.

 

CALL IN THE COAST GUARD

If you have a boat, you can call Madison Mutual to insure it.

You can also call the Coast Guard to perform a Vessel Safety Check (VSC) for free.

They’ll inspect a number of things, including:

  • Ventilation
  • Backfire flame control
  • Personal Floatation Devices (notice a theme?)
  • Navigation lights

If it all checks out, you’ll be awarded a VSC decal!

CALL ON YOURSELF

If all else fails, if you’re in deep water and think you might be in danger of drowning, you can control the situation until you get to safety—or safety comes to you—by following these self-rescue steps:

  • Lay on your back
  • Aim your body so the water will push you towards shore
  • Cross your feet
  • Put your arms across your chest

KEEP YOUR HEAD ABOVE WATER

Here’s to a sun-soaked, fun-filled vacation season. And if you have a boat, call your agent or 800-766-MMIC (6642) to insure it with us!

Be sure to ask for a policy review to make sure you’re maximizing every discount available so you have more to splurge while you splash around.