It is a wonderful time to visit our beautiful lakes and
fast-moving rivers, but please read the safety tips in this
water safety warning because making a mistake could
threaten the life of a loved one.
Sudden immersion in cold water can stimulate the
"gasp reflex" causing an involuntary inhalation of
air or water. It can even trigger cardiac arrest,
temporary paralysis, hypothermia and
drowning. When faced with swift water, even the
strongest swimmers may be easily overwhelmed.
Cold water entering the ear canal can cause vertigo
and disorientation. This may confuse swimmers,
causing them to venture deeper into the water.
Swimming in open water is more difficult than in a
swimming pool - people tire more quickly and can get
Cold water causes impairment leading to fatalities.
It reduces body heat 25 to 30 times faster than air
does at the same temperature.
Many unseen obstacles can be lurking below the
water's surface. Swift water can make these obstacles
even more treacherous. Guided trips for inexperienced
paddlers are recommended.
Conditions change quickly in open water and even the
best swimmers can misjudge the water and their skills
when boating or swimming. Wearing a life jacket can
increase survival time.
A life jacket can provide some thermal protection
against the onset of hypothermia and keep you afloat
until someone else can rescue you.
Actively supervise children in and around open bodies
of water, giving them your undivided attention.
Appoint a designated "water watcher," taking turns
with other adults.
Teach children that swimming in open water is not the
same as swimming in a pool: they need to be aware of
uneven surfaces, river currents, ocean undertow and
Every child under 13 must wear a Coast Guard-approved
life jacket when on a moving vessel that is 26 feet
or less in length. A Coast Guard-approved life jacket
must be carried for each person on board a boat. This
includes rigid or inflatable paddle craft.
Every person on board a personal watercraft
(popularly known as "jet skis," "waverunners," etc.)
and any person being towed behind a vessel must wear
a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
It is against the law to operate a boat or water ski
with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08
percent or more. You can be arrested even when your
BAC is less than 0.08 percent if conditions are
deemed to be unsafe.