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Water and Boating Safety. By Our Student Pharmacist, Andris Grinvalds.

Pool Safety

Summer is almost here! The consistent warm temperatures and sunshine are drawing everyone to the outdoors.

There is no better way to enjoy the hot weather than to go for a swim or go boating out on a lake. However, it is important for everyone to first consider boating and water safety. Most accidental drownings are preventable and it is important for everyone to be aware of these safety tips so we can all beat the heat with safety in mind.

The number one rule is to never swim alone and to never leave young children alone around any body of water. Most drownings happen silently and quickly. Being distracted for a few seconds can be enough for a child to fall into the water. Accidents can happen in less than thirty seconds. And they can happen without a sound. It is important to always have a young child within arm’s reach when around water. Remember that floating toys and air mattresses are not alternatives for life vests. Remove floating toys when the pool is not being used. Children may reach for the toy and fall in by accident. Do not be lulled into thinking children are safe if they have taken swimming lessons; it is still important to stay near the child at all times.

Other safety precautions include:

  • Every able person should be trained in CPR and other rescue techniques.
  • Have a first aid kit handy.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol when swimming or supervising a child near water.
  • Do not become complacent and rely on a lifeguard to watch children.
  • If a child is missing, check the water first.

Swimming in natural bodies of water comes with different risks. Water in rivers and lakes is darker and may have a current or undertow. If you are caught in a current, do not fight it. Float with the current or swim parallel to shore until the current is weak enough to escape. Never dive in unfamiliar areas.

Other popular summer activities include sailing and boating. Most of boating fatalities can also be avoided if one is aware and knows how to stay safe. Nearly half of all boating accidents happen when alcohol is involved. Avoid alcohol when operating a boat. Anyone born after January 1, 1982 must have a boating license to operate a boat. It is important that all passengers are familiar with the safety precautions before boarding.

All of the boating regulations for Ohio can be found HERE.

Life Jacket Fit

Life jackets are crucial in boating safety. In Ohio, children under 10-years-old must always wear a life jacket on boats less than 18 feet in length. The law also says that there must be a life jacket for every person aboard the boat and they must be readily accessible. All boaters are encouraged to wear a life jacket at all times. Falling out of a boat may disorient the person and prevent them from being able to swim. A life jacket will keep the person’s head above water so they don’t drown.

Life vests should be inspected before leaving the shore to make sure they are in good condition. It is also important for everyone to try on the life jacket and make sure it fits. There are different life jackets for children and adults. Life jackets are fitted based on weight and chest size. Make sure the life jacket has a tight fit and is properly fastened. To check if the life jacket fits properly, lift your arms up and have someone pull up on the shoulders of the vest. If the jacket does not ride up over your chin or face, it fits correctly.

Some other boating safety tips include:

  • Never boat alone or at least have a plan and let someone know where you are going and when you will be back.
  • Always carry a cell phone for emergencies.
  • Never swim in a marina. Boats are connected to shore with power lines and stray power lines can result in paralysis and death.

Please share these tips with family and friends to bring awareness to the community. If we all know and understand the safety concerns of swimming and boating, we can avoid tragedy and enjoy this beautiful summer weather.


Boyse K. Water and pool safety. Published May 2010. Accessed June 2019. http://www.med.umich.edu/yourchild/topics/water.htm

National Safety Council. Water Safety. Published 2019. Accessed June 2019. https://www.nsc.org/home-safety/tools-resources/seasonal-safety/drowning

Kalkomey Enterprises. Study Guide for Ohio Boater Education Certificate. Published 2019. Accessed June 2019. https://www.boat-ed.com/ohio/studyGuide/10103602/

United Stated Coast Guard. Wearing your life jacket. Published June 2019. Accessed June 2019. https://www.uscgboating.org/recreational-boaters/life-jacket-wear-wearing-your-life-jacket.php

United States Coast Guard. How to choose the right life jacket. Published June 2019. Accessed June 2019. http://www.uscgboating.org/images/howtochoosetherightlifejacket_brochure.pdf

National Marine Manufacturers Association. Safe boating tips. Published May 21 2019. Accessed June 2019. https://www.discoverboating.com/ownership/safety/tips

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