Water Sports Safety

As summer approaches, many individuals and families are preparing for long days of swimming and fun in the sun. Water sports are especially common in Florida, with its numerous lakes and beaches to enjoy activities like surfing, tubing, boating, and water skiing. However, with these adventures come dangerous safety issues. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 4,000 deaths were associated with water sports accidents in 2005. It’s critical for individuals and families to practice water sports safety to avoid any water-related accidents.

Know How to Swim

One of the most important aspects of water sports safety is knowing how to swim. A lack of swimming ability is one of the main contributors to water sports accidents related to drowning and near-drowning. Furthermore, individuals who are confident in their swimming abilities will naturally be more comfortable while participating in water sports. This confidence helps to increase performance as well as increase overall water sports safety. Those who can’t swim or are uncomfortable with their swimming skills are encouraged to enroll in swimming lessons.

Use Life Jackets

Even when individuals know how to swim, life jackets should always be worn while participating in water sports. In some cases, there may be certain circumstances that make it difficult for individuals to safely swim back to shore or to their water sports equipment. This can lead to exhaustion or drowning. Life jackets ensure that individuals stay above water at all times, significantly reducing the risk of drowning.

Be Prepared

Water sports safety also includes elements of preparation, such as the following:

  • Know where you are going, how you will get there, and which paths you will take
  • Check the weather to make sure conditions will stay favorable
  • Research local laws, which may restrict certain activities or equipment
  • Apply sunscreen to prevent sunburn from a long day in the sun
  • Avoid overexposure to the sun, which can cause heat exhaustion and contribute to skin cancer
  • Drink plenty of water before, during, and after activities to prevent dehydration
  • Refrain from alcohol and drug use, as impairment increases accident risk

Keep Equipment Maintained

Water sports safety depends on adequate and well-maintained equipment. Machines like boats and jet skis should always be checked for any engine or mechanical issues. Prior to departure, fuel supply and battery levels should always be adequate. Equipment such as surf boards and inner tubes should be checked for any weaknesses, cracks, or holes which could cause the item to break when force is applied during use.