The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) reminds Californians to be prepared, remember this safety tips and enjoy this 4th of July weekend celebration.
Safety tips for this year’s boating and water season:
- Conduct a Vessel Check: Make sure you have the right safety equipment on board your boat such as life jackets, flares, navigation lights, a horn or whistle, and a first aid kit.
- File a Float Plan: Email/text a float plan to a loved one or friend with details of your trip in the event of an emergency.
- Wear a Life Jacket: Everyone should wear a properly fitted U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket when in or near the water. You never know when an accident may happen, and a life jacket can help save you until search and rescue help can arrive. In swift water, even the strongest swimmers may be easily overwhelmed. By the time a person is struggling in the water, a rescue is extremely unlikely and places the rescuer at risk.
- Avoid Alcohol: Do not drink and boat.
- Actively Supervise Children: Actively supervise children in and around open bodies of water, giving them your undivided attention. Do not assume that someone is watching them. 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 changing weather.
- Be Cautious in Rivers: Rivers will continue to rise as snow melts and will be dangerously cold. Avoid these waterways.
Keep in mind these safety tips when swimming:
- Watch kids when they are in or around water: Keep young children and weak swimmers within arm’s reach of an adult. Make sure more experienced swimmers are with a partner every time.
- Choose a Water Watcher: When there are several adults present, choose one to be responsible for watching children in or near the water for a certain period, such as 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, select another adult to be the Water Watcher.
- Teach children how to swim: Every child is different, so enroll children in swim lessons when they are ready. Consider their age, development and how often they are around water.
- Make sure kids learn these five water survival skills:
- Step or jump into water over their head and return to the surface.
- Turn around in the water and orient to safety.
- Float or tread water.
- Combine breathing with forward movement in the water.
- Exit the water.
- Teach children that swimming in open water is different from swimming in a pool: Be aware of situations that are unique to open water, such as limited visibility, depth, uneven surfaces, currents, and undertow. These potential hazards can make swimming in open water more challenging than swimming in a pool.
- Learn CPR and basic water rescue skills: It is important to know how to respond in an emergency without putting yourself at risk of drowning. Learning these skills may help you save a life.
Things to think about before heading to the ocean:
- Never swim alone.
- Always be cautious, especially when swimming at unguarded beaches: Whenever possible, swim at a lifeguard protected beach. Obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards.
- Before heading to the beach, check your local beach conditions to identify the wave forecast: When waves are two to three feet high or greater, you are likely to have strong rip currents.
- If caught in a rip current, remain calm to conserve energy, and think clearly: Don’t fight the current. Swim out of the current in a direction following the shoreline. When out of the current, swim towards shore. If you are unable to swim out of the rip current, float or calmly tread water. When out of the current, swim towards shore.
- If you are still unable to reach shore, draw attention to yourself: face the shore, wave your arms, and yell for help.
- If you see someone in trouble, get help from a lifeguard: If a lifeguard is not available, have someone call 9-1-1. Throw the rip current victim something that floats and yell instructions on how to escape.