Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

Summer Water Safety Means: Know your Limitations

Military personnel participating in a swim call Sailors assigned to the Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Olympia (SSN 717) participate in a swim call in the Pacific Ocean, July 31, 2018 (Photo by: Navy Fire Control Technician Senior Chief Vien Nguyen).

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety | Summer Safety Toolkit

Swimming in a pool, a lake, a pond, or an ocean is the height of cool summer fun but swimming also has its dangers.

Open waters with strong tides are risky for even the most experienced swimmers. The most placid pools can be very dangerous for young children. Alcohol always raises the threat level for swimmers.

And complacency of any kind creates potential problems around the water.

"The most important thing to remember is how unpredictable it can be." said Marine Staff Sgt. Houston Lindemann, senior non-commissioned officer in charge of beach lifeguards at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

"Always check the currents and weather conditions at the location you plan to swim," Lindemann said.

"Once you find that conditions are safe, check for the closest lifeguards to where you will be swimming. Swimming at beaches, lakes, or pools with lifeguards on duty is the best way to stay safe," he added.

A military personnel being a lifeguard
Marine lifeguards with Headquarters Support Battalion’s Beach Detachment, watch over the shore of Onslow Beach aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina (Photo by: Marine Cp. Jackeline Perez Rivera, Marine Corps Installations East).

Jim VanHoesen, a lifeguard at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., said: "You need to know the body of water and the shoreline."

VanHoesen suggested that another core precaution is "to get a formal training course in swimming for the entire family." The Red Cross provides many courses on swimming for beginners as do many base pools.

In the pool at Holloman, parents are told to watch out for their children at all times and not to count on the lifeguard as a babysitter. "We have an arm's length rule," VanHoesen explained: Adults always need to be within an arm's length of a child in case of trouble.

That rule exists because toddlers and children are silent drowners. They do not splash about or cry for help but go silently straight to the bottom. It all can happen in a matter of seconds.

What should you know before you jump into that inviting pool? "Always know the depth of the pool," VanHoesen said, and don't jump headfirst the first time. Know where the ladders and lifeguard stations are located.

Military personnel jumping off a boat
U.S. Coast Guard Academy Cadets and Coast Guard Tall Ship Eagle (WIX 327) crewmembers participate in a swim call in the Atlantic July 10, 2019 (Photo by: Navy Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ruben Reed).

Before you even leave the house, VanHoesen said, bring provisions to "stay hydrated, bring sunscreen and layers of clothes should the weather change."

When swimming at beaches that do not have lifeguards, "it is extremely important to know your limitations," Lindemann said. "Do not do more than you are capable of. It is also important to know how to spot rips and tide changes when swimming at unguarded beaches," he added.

Rip currents "are strong, localized, and narrow currents of water that move directly away from shore, cutting through the lines of breaking waves like a river running out to sea," LIndemann explained.

If caught in a rip current, he offered this advice: The best practice is to relax and swim parallel to the shore until free from it. Do not tire yourself out by trying to swim directly back to the shore.

Here are some other tips to keep you and your family safe while in or near the water:

  1. Watch out for the "dangerous toos": too tired, too cold, too far from safety, too much sun and too much strenuous activity.
  2. Have a means of summoning help (such as a mobile phone) close by. Water emergencies often happen quickly and unexpectedly.
  3. Get trained in first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillator (AED) use.
  4. Always swim with a partner, especially in open water.
  5. Never swim when you are tired, under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or medication.
  6. Observe all posted warning signs.
  7. Do not run around the pool deck; it is wet and likely slippery.
  8. Do not let children roughhouse or play underwater breath-holding games.
  9. Watch the weather and stay out of the water during thunderstorms.
  10. Always make young children, inexperienced swimmers, and non-swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets whenever they are in, on, or around the water.
  11. Fence pools and spas with adequate barriers to prevent unsupervised access.
  12. Teach children to stay away from pool drains and other openings that create suction, which could lead to drowning.
  13. Know what kinds of animals are in the water with you and which to avoid.

 

You also may be interested in...

Gearing Up: SERE Instructor Gives Tips for Hitting the Trail This Fall

Article
9/8/2021
Marines in civilian clothes hiking in mountains.

SERE instructor and Navy Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Apolo Silva talks about some of the key things to keep in mind, as well as precautions you should take, before and during heading out into the wilderness this fall.

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety

Extreme Heat: Heat-Related Illness

Infographic
8/20/2021
Heat Related Illness: How Hot is Too Hot

Heat-related illnesses can be serious. Make sure you know how hot is too hot!

Recommended Content:

Extreme Heat | Summer Safety

Plan your Float: Boating Safety Tips from the Coast Guard

Article
8/2/2021
Military personnel conducting boating safety patrols

Have a “Float Plan,” the Coast Guard says, when boating recreationally.

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety | Summer Safety Toolkit

Safety Briefs: Don't be Boring and Use Real Examples

Article
7/21/2021
Marines receiving a safety brief

Two Marines share tips on how to make routine safety briefs both interesting and engaging.

Recommended Content:

UV Protection | Extreme Heat | Summer Safety | Summer Safety Toolkit

Extreme Heat: Safety Tips for Heat-Related Illness

Infographic
7/16/2021
Plan. Prepare. Protect. Natural Disaster Resource Guide.  Extreme Heat Safety: Increased Risk for Heat-Related Illness. Extreme heat is when temperatures are more hot or humid than normal. Heat-related health problems are preventable, but some factors put you at increased risk for illness, such as exhaustion or heat stroke. What are the risk factors? Common risk factors include: High levels of humidity, fever, alcohol use, dehydration, prescription drugs, heart disease, poor circulation, sunburn. Follow these quick tips: Wear appropriate clothing, stay indoors, be careful during outdoor activities, pace yourself, wear sunscreen, don’t leave children or pets in parked cars, and avoid hot and heavy meals. FOR EMERGENCIES, dial 911 or go to the nearest emergency room immediately. For more extreme heat safety information, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat. #BeReady #Prepare2Protect. TRICARE Logo.

Are you at higher risk for heat-related illness? Heat-related health problems are preventable, but some factors put you at increased risk for illness, such as exhaustion or heat stroke. Follow these tips.

Recommended Content:

Extreme Heat | Summer Safety

Old-School Summer Safety Risks: Sun, Water, Insects and Alcohol

Article
7/15/2021
Children sitting by the pool

A preventive medicine doctor talks about an array of summer-related safety concerns.

Recommended Content:

UV Protection | Extreme Heat | Summer Safety | Summer Safety Toolkit

Summer Safety 2021

Photo
7/15/2021
Children sitting by the pool

Summer days can be such fun, if done safely (Photo by: Tommie Horton, 78th Air Base Wing).

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety | UV Protection | Extreme Heat

Summer Safety Tips

Video
7/15/2021
Infographic about Summer Safety

Recommended Content:

UV Protection | Extreme Heat | Summer Safety | Summer Safety Toolkit

Hydration

Infographic
7/14/2021
Stay Hydrated - Carry a water bottle, choose water over sugary drink & add fruit to water

Stay Hydrated - Carry a water bottle, choose water over sugary drink & add fruit to water

Recommended Content:

Dehydration | Summer Safety Toolkit | Summer Safety

Child Safety - Extreme Heat

Infographic
7/12/2021
Plan. Prepare. Protect. Natural Disaster Resource Guide. Extreme Heat Safety Tips: Keeping Your Child Safe. Hello, summer! Summer may be the perfect time to enjoy the outdoors with your children. However, when temperatures are more hot or humid than normal, take extra precautions. Follow these tips: never leave your child in a parked car, rolling windows down isn’t enough; dress your kid in loose, lightweight, and light-colored clothing; make sure your child drinks plenty of fluids, and limit sugar; remember protective gear, such as hats, to prevent sunburn; and seek medical care immediately if your child shows signs of heat-related illness. Important! Sunscreen is not recommended for babies who are 6 months old or younger. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration suggests keeping infants out of the sun during mid-day and using protective clothing if they have to be in the sun. For more extreme heat safety tips, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat. Be ready at a moment’s notice. Visit: www.newsroom.tricare.mil/Disaster. TRICARE logo.

Hello, summer! Summer may be the perfect time to enjoy the outdoors with your children. However, when temperatures are more hot or humid than normal, take extra precautions. Follow these tips.

Recommended Content:

Extreme Heat | Summer Safety

Pet Safety - Extreme Heat

Infographic
7/12/2021
Plan. Prepare. Protect. Natural Disaster Resource Guide. Extreme Heat Safety Tips: Keeping Your Pets Safe. Extreme heat can also affect your pets. Image of dog and cat drinking water from a bowl. Extreme heat is when temperatures are more hot or humid than normal. Follow these tips: never leave your pet in a parked car, limit outdoor activities, watch for signs of overheating, don’t keep your pets outside for too long, bring your pet inside to cool down, provide plenty of fresh water, keep their water in a shaded area, and take your pet to the groomer, as shorter hair may help keep them cool. Remember! Leaving a window open in your parked car isn’t enough to keep your pets cooled down or safe from heat-related illness. For more pet safety tips, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/emergencies. Be ready at a moment’s notice. Visit: www.newsroom.tricare.mil/Disaster. TRICARE logo

Extreme heat can also affect your pets. Extreme heat is when temperatures are much hotter or humid than normal. Follow these tips.

Recommended Content:

Extreme Heat | Summer Safety

MHS and MOS Town Hall To Your Health Summer Safety

Article
7/12/2021
Picture of Lt. Col. Christine Smetana

MHS and Military OneSource: To Your Health: Summer Safety Discussion with Lt. Col. Christine Smetana of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

Recommended Content:

UV Protection | Extreme Heat | Summer Safety | MHS and Military OneSource To Your Health

MHS and MOS the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

Video
7/12/2021
MHS and MOS Townhall infographic

MHS and Military OneSource To Your Health: Summer Safety Discussion with Lt. Col. Christine Smetana of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

Recommended Content:

UV Protection | Extreme Heat | Summer Safety

Avoid summertime food poisoning with these easy tips

Article
7/9/2021
Someone cooking on a grill

Food safety in the summer is just as important as sunscreen

Recommended Content:

Nutritional Fitness | Summer Safety | Summer Safety Toolkit

Warning: Fireworks Are Dangerous (and Can Be Traumatic for Some)

Article
7/2/2021
Picture of fireworks

Fireworks safety is no joke. Keep children away and watch for duds.

Recommended Content:

Summer Safety | Summer Safety Toolkit
<< < 1 2 3 4 5 > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 5

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.