Swimming is one of the most popular and accessible activities in the world. You can participate in this fun activity in a number of locations, including swimming pools, the ocean and other bodies of water. However, swimming has many potential health and safety risks. With proper precautions and safety tips, you can avoid many swimming dangers have more fun while you’re out in the water. 

Knowledge and Training

The first step to safe swimming is to learn how to swim. If you haven’t already had training, take a class at your local community pool. Even if you don’t plan to swim regularly, it’s important to know how to swim properly. If you intend to swim with your family or friends, you should also consider learning first aid skills, including CPR. Your training could help save a loved one’s life. It’s amazing how much some basic training can help in the long run. 

Swim Only in Safe Areas

Swimming in safe areas is a good way to protect yourself. Stick to areas patrolled by lifeguards. All public pools are constantly monitored by trained professionals, giving you peace of mind. Many popular beaches have lifeguards on duty as well. If you choose to swim in an unguarded location, such as a lake near a campground, use your best judgment. Only swim in these areas if you feel reasonably comfortable doing so and understand the possible risks involved. 

Avoid Risky Behaviors

Some behaviors can increase the chance of a mishap or potential disaster when you’re swimming. Drinking alcohol can reduce your ability to make good decisions while swimming. Swimming by yourself also presents danger if something happens to you as you swim. Always take a buddy along who can help you out of a disaster if one should occur. Additionally, keep your eye on your surroundings, including the weather. If a thunderstorm begins to form, leave the water and get to a safe place. If you spot any dangerous marine wildlife, leave the water immediately. Best to be safe rather than sorry. 

Know When It’s Time to Stay Out of the Water

Even if you have good swimming experience, don’t assume you can swim anywhere you see a body of water. Even the most experienced swimmers can get into serious trouble. You should be aware of the characteristics of an unsafe swimming area. Many beaches warn swimmers to stay out of the water to avoid contact with potentially deadly ocean creatures. Always heed any signs and warnings you see before taking a dip into the water and get into more danger. 

Special Precautions for Children

If you go swimming with young children, you need to closely monitor their activity. Even if your children have basic swimming skills, you must supervise them at all times. Don’t count on lifeguards to see everything that happens in the pool. You need to be prepared to help your children if they need assistance. If you have your own pool at home, you should take a variety of precautions to keep your children safe. For example, install a fence with a locked gate around your pool to keep your children out. It does not take long for a young child to drown, but you can prevent tragedies with proper vigilance. Swimming is a fun activity that just about anyone can enjoy. Take the time to prepare yourself and your family for any upcoming swims. Learn how to swim and how to help others who get into trouble in the water. You can have fun and still swim safely.

Drew Barlow currently works as a writer for SwimJim. He’s previously worked as a children’s swim instructor. He enjoys swimming, biking and many other sports as well as spending time outside and in the water. SwimJim is a NYC swimming company that provides pool service and swimming lessons for children. It also provides swimming lessons and pool services in Houston, Texas.

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