Water Safety Tips…Have Fun and Stay Safe!

have fun and be safe...water safety tips

Water Safety Tips…Have Fun and Stay Safe!

Here in the Chesapeake region, there is no shortage of options to head out on the water for a day of fun in the sun. From kayaking and canoeing to paddle-boarding and powerboating and sailing, there are so many choices. So, it’s time to refresh your knowledge of water safety. Here is a bit of a crash course on nine water safety tips for all of your summer adventures.

1. Learn How to Swim

While it may seem obvious, making sure you at least know swimming basics. Did you know that every day, around ten people die from drowning? Furthermore, would you know what to do if your kayak or canoe capsized? Even if you are wearing a personal floatation device (PDF), it is imperative that you at you have the essential water training, so you do not panic. Luckily many organizations offer swim and water safety classes for any age and skill level. With Annapolis being such an active water community, this investment is worth it! Check out places like the YMCA or the American Red Cross for more swim lesson options.

2. ALWAYS Wear a PDF

Ok, we get it, wearing a PDF is not the sexiest look, but staying alive is super sexy! According to the American Canoe Association, up to 70 percent of drownings involving canoes, kayaks, and rafts could have been avoided by wearing PDF’s. Even if you are a strong swimmer, never underestimate the situation or your reaction. A PDF is called a “lifesaver” for a good reason.

3. Check the Weather Forecast Before and During

Even on what seems to be the most beautiful day, conditions can shift instantly. If you are planning on heading out in a small craft like a canoe or kayak, or on a stand-up paddleboard, remember you are most vulnerable to weather changes. Therefore, make sure you pay attention to the hourly forecast and plan accordingly. Never, ever try to beat a storm in as it erupts. Anticipate any impending changes and take immediate action.

4. Proper Sun Protection

Out on the water, the sun can get pretty intense. Make sure to protect your skin, scalp, and eyes. How? Wear sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses. Don’t forget to protect susceptible areas such as the back of your ears, neck, and the tops of your feet. For the best protection, look for sunglasses and clothing that offer UV protection. Remember that you can even experience sun damage on a cloudy day.

5. Wear a Wet Suit When Necessary

Tugging on a wet suit may seem like a lot of work. But even if the air feels hot, if you are out in deeper water, the temps can dip. You are at risk of hypothermia in prolonged exposure of just 75 degrees. So, if you are surfing, diving, or paddle boarding for an extended time, or if the water temp is not above 80 degrees, consider wearing a wet suit.

6. Never Go Out Alone

As tempting as it may seem to head out for a solo sunrise adventure, it is best to have a partner in tow. Furthermore, if your group is planning a day trip, it is best to file a float plan with someone you trust. Make sure to check in periodically. If you simply cannot resist a solo venture, ALWAYS let someone know your intentions.

7. Know the Water Way Rules

Be aware of your surroundings at all times. If you are paddling or boating through a busy channel or a harbor, know where you are supposed to be, and who has the right of passage. If you are in a small vessel, wear brightly colored clothes, or carry a whistle.

8. Waterproof Communication

While we are pretty sure that no one goes anywhere these days without a cellphone, anytime you are on the water, it is imperative to ensure it protected. For long-term adventures, consider a personal location beacon (PLB) outfitted with a floatation sleeve. Even if you are super experienced, accidents happen, and you can never be too prepared.

9. Respect the Marine-Life

Remember that when out on the water protecting the health of the bay is paramount. It is thrilling to witness marine life, like a pod of dolphins or a school of jellyfish. However, many animals are legally protected, so it is best not to get too close.

This season as you plan on heading out for an adventure, remember these water safety tips. Here’s one more important t tip: never head out on an empty stomach! Pick up some Naval Bagel sandwiches, or bagels and cream cheese to fuel up your crew. Check out our menu for all the options. Be safe and have fun!

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