Swim Safety: Help Your Group Enjoy a Day in the Sun
Swimming is a timeless summer activity. Regardless of whether your group visits a pool, recreation center, ocean, or pond, keep the following safety precautions in mind to assure safety as your group enjoys fun in the sun.
Start by checking your location for safety concerns.
- If your group plans to use a natural body of water, scout your swimming area for hazards, such as drop-offs and strong currents. Also check the area for dangerous wildlife.
- Before activities begin, advise your group about potential dangers and rules of conduct.
Make sure someone keeps an eye on your swimmers at all times.
- Ideally, your group should employ at least one lifeguard, someone who possesses certifications in water rescue techniques and knows how to recognize signs of swimmer distress.
- If employing a lifeguard is not feasible, ask adult chaperones to supervise your swimming area. Your group should have at least one CPR-certified adult.
- The larger your group and swimming area, the more pairs of eyes you need.
Create a certification test to gauge your swimmers’ skill levels.
- Young children and inexperienced swimmers should wade no deeper than neck level.
- Consider using colored wristbands to help your chaperones monitor inexperienced swimmers.
- Keep in mind that water wings, noodles, and other “floaties” do not constitute lifesaving devices.
Set up your program for safety
Create your break schedule, define your swimming area, and provide supervision with safety in mind.
- Pair all swimmers, and conduct buddy checks every 30 minutes to ensure that all swimmers are accounted for.
- Schedule breaks to ensure that swimmers have a chance to rest, cool down, or warm up.
- Make sure your swimmers stay within a defined area, so chaperones can see them clearly.
- Stay attuned to weather developments. Clear your swimming area, and move everyone to shelter if a storm approaches.
- Bring extra water, sunscreen, and first-aid equipment.
These guidelines will help keep your group’s activity schedule rolling smoothly and go a long way to averting the risks inherent in water activities.