Going to a lake during the summertime can be fun. That’s where many people take time to relax and spend time with family and friends. However, being in or around the lake can pose some danger—so make sure you’re following these tips for a safe, fun trip to the lake!
1. Make Sure You’re a Confident Swimmer
Some lakes become very deep, very quickly, especially if your group likes to swim from the boat. To keep yourself safe, make sure you’re confident you can swim back to a shallower part of the lake, or are able to swim back to the boat. If you’re not confident in your swimming skills, make sure to wear a life jacket or stay in shallow water.
2. Be Extra Cautious With Children
Children should always be well-supervised when near a body of water. Although lifejackets and floatation devices can be helpful, do not rely on only these to keep your child safe in the water. Make sure your kids know how to swim properly before heading to the water.
3. Know the Signs of Drowning
A drowning can happen in a matter of minutes. It can also be difficult to tell when someone is drowning—it can happen silently. Learn about the signs of drowning here.
4. Know the Signs of Recreational Water Illness
Many bodies of water can carry bacteria or chemicals that can cause illness to swimmers. Some illnesses can be caused by E. coli and other bacteria in the water. This can lead to stomach illness, respiratory illness, or skin illness. To avoid contracting these illnesses, avoid getting water in your mouth when swimming. Additionally, avoid getting into the water if you have cuts or open wounds as bacteria can cause an infection.
5. Follow Standard Boating Safety Procedures
Accidents on boats happen often and can be extremely dangerous. Sometimes, something that seems like harmless fun can be a life-changing event for passengers on the boat. Click here to learn more about boating safety.
6.Wear a Life Jacket
Though this is listed in the safety procedures guide, we want to stress the importance of this. Wearing a life jacket for both boat operators and passengers is essential. Make sure you and everyone on board have a life jacket on. Confirm with the person who is operating the boat that coastguard-approved life jackets are available for use.
7.Watch out for Slippery Surfaces
Slippery water spots or algae may look harmless—but they can pose some serious danger. Algae is often essential in the underwater food chain. However, when it grows on areas that people often use, it can cause some serious injuries. Some types of algae grow on surfaces like rocks, pathways—some even grow on steps or stairs. This can be dangerous as algae often creates a slick, slippery surface that can cause some painful injuries.
8. Don’t Overload the Boat
If you spend your time at the lake on a speed boat, jet ski, canoe, or kayak, ensure that everyone is following the safety procedures required for that vessel. Boats should never be loaded with too many people.
9. Follow the Law
Operators should make sure all passengers are wearing the appropriate safety gear while on the boat. The person driving the boat should also avoid consuming alcohol before and during the operation of the boat—as accidents from drinking and driving a boat are common causes for fatalities on the water. Anyone who does not follow this is subject to intoxication laws in Texas.
10. Be Aware of Barriers
Many lakes are shared by both boaters and swimmers. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department often requires buoys to be placed in specific areas. This will let boaters know they need to drive with caution and go a low speed. It also lets swimmers know not to go past a certain point, as that is an area for boats to drive at a normal or fast speed.