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Water Safety: Staying Safe in Pools, Lakes and Oceans

According to the National Safety Council, an average of nine people die from drowning every day in the United States. When it comes to staying safe in the water, knowledge is key and early education can lead to lifetime of healthy, safe swimming. Here at Cushman Insurance Group, we care about your family’s safety, which is why we’re offering tips to help keep everyone safe at the pool, lake, or beach.

Pool Safety

If you’re swimming in a private, residential pool there are many hidden dangers and potential risk factors you’ll want to consider. Here are three tips for safe swimming in a backyard pool.

Cleaning up the deck can keep you safe.

Maintaining a tidy pool deck is not only good housekeeping, it can also save lives. Don’t leave items such as floating toys, tubes or inflatable rafts laying around the deck or floating in the pool, because they might attract a child to the water. Without proper supervision, a child reaching for a floating pool toy may fall in and go unnoticed by parents or guardians. Toys left on the deck instantly become slippery hazards and if someone were to trip and fall, it could lead to a serious injury. It’s a good idea to establish a set of basic rules for all children on the pool deck as well — we suggest no running, no pushing or horseplay and no diving.

Keep your pool fenced in to keep children and pets out.

All backyard pools should be surrounded by a four-foot or taller fence with a self-closing gate that opens away from the pool. This type of fencing will prevent children and pets from entering the water unsupervised and will also keep wildlife away from the pool if you live in a more rural area. If your pool is above ground, it is recommended that you install steps and ladders than can be locked or removed when not in use. We advise that you avoid propping open the gate to the pool area, as this is a dangerous habit that could lead to far more serious consequences. If left unattended, a child could enter the pool area and slip under the water in a matter of minutes. Drowning can be silent — you will not always hear a cry for help or splashing when a swimmer is struggling in the water, so it is best to only open your pool when you know that someone will be watching the water. Constant supervision is crucial.

At home, you are the only lifeguard on duty.

When you decide to purchase a backyard pool, you are taking on the responsibility of a lifeguard. This means that you should never leave a child unattended in the pool area and that someone should always be watching your child when they are in or even near the water. If there are multiple adults present, assign a single person to be the designated lifeguard for that day. Sometimes in a group setting, parents will assume that someone else is watching their child, which could lead to no supervision at all! In case of an emergency, keep a first-aid kit and proper water rescue equipment on the pool deck. We also suggest that you teach children basic water safety skills including treading water, rolling over to a back float and safely entering and exiting the pool using the edges. This can be done through at home lessons or by enrolling your child in swimming lessons at a young age.

Lake Safety

Lakes and ponds are a great place to swim, boat and fish! With so many activities happening at the same time, it’s important to stay vigilant and aware of your surroundings. Here are three tips to keep you safe at the lake.

Stay within the proper swimming area.

At a lake or a pond, the designated swimming area is usually marked by ropes or buoys. These areas are more likely to be free of weeds, rocky underwater terrain, and other dangers. It is important to know your limits when swimming in these locations because open water swimming is drastically different than swimming in a pool. If you’re not sure where the designated swimming area is located, ask a lifeguard of other nearby staff member. If you are swimming with children, make it a rule that no one can swim deeper than they can stand on flat feet.

Even the strongest swimmers need lifejackets.

Lakes are a great place for not only swimming, but boating too! Motorized boats and personal watercraft like canoes and kayaks are a lot of fun on a hot day, but if you plan to ride out and then swim in deeper waters, you definitely need a life jacket. If you were to unintentionally get separated from your boat, a life jacket will keep you afloat and save you from hours of treading water. Also, if you were ever forced beneath the surface in an emergency situation, your life jacket can pull you back above water. Even the strongest swimmers need a life jacket, so if you’re planning on swimming during your next boat trip, make sure to wear a life jacket at all times.

Think before you jump.

In a pool, swimmers can jump right in without worrying about what might be hiding under the water’s surface. In a lake, there could be all kinds of rocks, logs or other large materials that may be closer to the surface than they seem. Before you jump from a dock, boat or even a rope swing, have someone enter the water and check the depth of the swimming area. In some situations, there could be electricity in the water from a nearby boat or electrically lit dock. Jumping into water with an electric current could lead to electric shock drowning, which affects several swimmers each year. Taking the extra time to inspect the water for these lesser known perils is a simple way to reduce your risk of emergency.

Beach Safety

Can you name a better way to spend a summer day than at the beach? Although a trip to the coast is a great opportunity for relaxation and fun, it’s also important to remember that you must stay alert and plan ahead for the potential dangers of swimming in the ocean. Here are three tips for your next trip to the beach.

At the beach, lifeguards are your best friends.

Before getting in the water during your next trip to the beach, make sure a lifeguard is present and on-duty. Lifeguards can provide insight and helpful advice on the safest places to swim and what areas to avoid. Remember — floatation devices are not a substitute for lifeguard supervision. Although floats and water wings can be fun, they do not provide proper protection from drowning.

Mother nature is powerful, especially in the water.

Beware of rip currents! These are powerful, channeled currents of water that move away from shore and they can occur at any beach with breaking waves. Make sure to check with the lifeguard on duty about rip currents before entering the water. It is very important to be mindful of factors like rip current and under toes when swimming at the beach because anyone, especially a small swimmer, could easily be pulled under or pulled to deeper, unsafe waters within a second. Beaches typically display colored flags along the water that warn swimmers of potential dangers as well. For example, a red or yellow flag can be a sign of rough waters, while a blue or purple flag can indicate a potentially dangerous animal has been spotted in the water.

Never swim alone.

A person can drown in a matter of minutes, which is why constant supervision is so important when swimming in a large body of water like the ocean. We believe that you should always swim with a buddy, regardless of age or ability. You never know what could happen in the ocean and you always want to have another person there to help. If this is your first swim of the season, or if you are even the slightest bit unsure about your own swimming abilities, we recommend that you start out slow and stay close to the shore.

We hope these tips help you and your family stay safe in and around the water this summer! Speak with a dedicated Cushman Insurance Group agent to learn more about how you can protect your backyard pool, personal watercraft, and more. “Our Clients Are Our First Priority” is more than part of our mission statement, it’s a daily commitment.

Call a Cushman Insurance Group agent today at 800-356-5151 or visit us online to learn more:


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