Tips To Stay Safe on the Water

lifesaver in water
Lifesaver buoy in water | Image by Grafithink/Shutterstock

Holidays and hot days bring people to the water, and as locals head to the lake, experts share tips to keep safe.

Community Impact reported that “Drowning is the leading cause of death for children ages 1-4, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“As Texans head to lakes, rivers and pools for Memorial Day weekend, state and local officials are reminding people to always keep an eye on children, wear life jackets in open water and avoid alcohol when boating.

“'[Drowning] can happen to anyone, regardless of age or swimming ability. … No one is immune to this danger,” said Dr. Desmar Walkes, Austin/Travis County medical director, during a May 22 news conference. “Let’s work together to ensure that our recreational areas remain safe places for enjoyment and relaxation, and not places for tragedy.’

What you need to know

“Texas had 175 boating accidents in 2023, including 28 deaths and 97 injuries, according to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. Most incidents were caused by collisions or people being hit by boats, the department reported.

“‘Boating while intoxicated is illegal, just like it is with driving while intoxicated,’ Travis County Park Ranger Chris Hatchett said. ‘And it increases the risk for collisions and injuries or drownings resulting from collisions.’

“The U.S. Coast Guard requires all recreational water vessels, including boats, kayaks and paddleboards, have one life jacket for each person on board. Children under 13 years old must wear life jackets while on a moving vessel, and everyone is required to wear a life jacket when using a personal watercraft, such as a jet ski.

“In an emergency on the water, Hatchett said Texans should follow these steps:

Throw a floatation device to the distressed person.

Call 911 immediately. Use maps, landmarks and your phone to determine where you are.

Never jump in to assist others if you are not wearing a life jacket.

Alert boaters around you with a whistle or horn.”

To read the full article by Community Impact, please look HERE.

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