By Bonnie Conrad
When the waves of summer heat descend, active people often turn to water sports for refreshing fun and exercise. Whether you like to hit the beach with water boards, paddle down the river or across the lake in an inflatable water craft, or lounge on the surface of the water in an inflatable tow float, you need to be conscious of safety concerns.
Before you hit the water, consider these water sport safety tips:
- Water safety, and in particular boat safety, begins with life vests. If you’re going to be boating on a lake, river, or ocean, make sure you’re wearing a life vest in the event you should capsize. Even if you’re a strong swimmer, accidents or unforeseeable circumstances can occur that require you to remain in the water for a long time. Always check your vest for damage prior to setting out.
- Be aware of weather conditions. Check the weather report online before making your water sport excursion, and if you should see or hear signs of a storm, head away from the water. Because water conducts electricity, you’ll want to be on land when lightning strikes.
- If you’re using a water board in the ocean, stay in tune with what is going on around you. You need to be aware not only of yourself and your own board, but of other swimmers and of the waves.
- Although a novice boater might at first be wary of the safety of an inflatable watercraft, inflatable boats are not only safe but can even in many cases be more buoyant than hard-case boats. However, it is possible for inflatable boats to become damaged, so make sure you bring a repair kit with you when you head for the water. It’s also a good idea to carry a foot pump.
Keep this safety advice in mind when you head out to the water with your water board or inflatable water craft this summer.