July is the month when most people want to beat the heat and look for ways to cool off, and this means more people are heading to their favorite body of water to enjoy swimming, boating and other water recreation activities. North Dakota had five boating fatalities in 2011 with none of the victims wearing lifejackets.
However, it is also the time of the year when most accidental drowning occurs. With this in mind, children should learn to become proficient swimmers by taking lessons. Knowing how to swim could save lives should they unexpectedly end up in the water.
Here are some tips to stay safe around water and boating:
- parents should be extra vigilant with small children around water
- children and non-swimmers should always wear lifejackets
- never dive into a lake or river unless you are sure of the condition of the bottom
- don’t over estimate your swimming ability
- don’t mix alcohol with swimming, diving and boating
- alcohol affects judgment, balance and coordination
- always wear lifejackets when operating personal watercrafts
- children on boats should always wear a lifejacket
Coast Guard researchers say drowning was the reported cause of death in almost three-fourths of recreational boating fatalities last year, and 84 percent of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets.
Source: ND Game and Fish