Coaches' Corner Blog

Summer Swimming Savvy

June 20, 2008 - Posted by Joanna

I love Wisconsin summers!  There is so much to do outdoors.  Have you ever been to Lake Wissota?  Here’s a funny story about Lake Wissota – in the movie Titanic, with Leonardo DiCaprio, his character references Lake Wissota by saying that when he was a child, he would visit the lake.  The funny thing is that Lake Wissota is a man-made lake, formed in 1917 – the Titanic sank in 1912.

If you are going to be visiting places such as Lake Wissota, the Mississippi River, Lake Michigan or any of the 10,000 lakes in Minnesota, there are things you need to know to stay safe!

Learn to swim.  The best way for you to stay safe is to learn how to swim.  Check with your local pool or your school to see if they offer any swimming classes. YMCA’s often offer year-round swimming lessons – find your local YMCA here!  It’s better to learn to swim before you actually need to in order to save your life or someone else’s.

Never allow small children to swim unsupervised – that’s a given.  This applies to the pool, lake, river, ocean or even bathtub.

Don't dive into water unless you know how deep it is.  Enter feet first if you don't know the depth. All above-ground pools are too shallow for diving.  All too often, hidden dangers lie beneath the surface of the water, including rock outcrops or shallow water.

Alcohol and water do not mix! More than half of all the people that drown consumed alcohol prior to their accident.  Alcohol influences balance, coordination, and judgment and its effects are heightened by sun exposure and heat.

A lifejacket can save your life!  When boating, wear a Coast Guard approved lifejacket. In Wisconsin, it is unlawful to operate any boat unless at least one personal flotation device of the proper size is available for each person on board.  Federal regulations require that children under 13 years of age must wear a personal flotation device on all recreational boats while underway. This applies on waters subject to federal jurisdiction.

Learn CPR. This is especially true if you own a pool or live near the water. Valuable lifesaving seconds are lost by having to wait for Emergency Medical Services to arrive to begin CPR. Four to six minutes without oxygen can cause irreversible brain damage or death.

These are just some of the tips to use to have a safe summer on the water.  Boat operators born on or after January 1, 1989 and at least 16 years of age are required to have a Wisconsin boating safety certification.  To find a class, check out the upcoming safety classes website.

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