Be Safer in Open Water
Swim near a lifeguard. Obey warning rules and flags. Learn rip current safety.
- All water is inherently dangerous.
- Open water and natural bodies of water (oceans, lakes, rivers, ponds, etc.) can present hazards such as lack of clarity and currents: Drowning Risks in Natural Water Settings. (CDC)
- Swim near a lifeguard when possible.
- Never swim alone.
- Swim with an adult buddy.
- Ask someone to be your kayak, canoe, or stand-up paddleboard Water Guardian.
- Obey posted rules and warning flags: Flag Warning System. (Galveston Island Beach Patrol)
- Learn how to recognize a rip current, and how to safely get out of a rip current. Teach this information to your kids.
- Rip Current Survival Guide (USLA)
- Rip Current Safety (National Weather Service)
- When in or around open water or natural bodies of water, children under the age of 14, and all weak or non-swimmers should wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets.
- Rafts, inner tubes, water wings, floaties, and other inflatable items are NOT proper safety devices.
- BROCHURE: Open Water Resource – English (Zoe Lynch)
- BROCHURE: Información de seguridad en aguas abiertas (Zoe Lynch)
- VIDEO: What drowning looks like. (Oasis Pools)
- VIDEO: INVESTIGATORS: Drowning is silent. (My Fox9)
- VIDEO: Instinctive Drowning Response. (Mario Vittone, CBSN)
- VIDEO: Reach or Throw, Don’t Go. (WIVB TV, YouTube)
- Before you head to the beach or lake, find out which locations have life guards and plan to swim there.
- Learn how to recognize a swimmer in trouble (see videos above).
- Take a Basic Water Rescue or Home Pool Essentials class.
- The American Red Cross offers these courses.
- Watch and share Never Happens: True Stories about Water Safety – TPWD with your teenage children.
- Remember the 4 R’s: Recognize, respond, rescue, revive (ONENews, TVNZ)
- Learn about rip currents and remember to pack flotation devices (Bring A Noodle)
- Read all of the Layers of Protection. Next layer: LEARN CPR.
- Take and share the Colin’s Hope Water Safety Quiz.
- Read more about International Standards for Beach Safety and Warning Flags. (ILS)
- Visit the United States Lifesaving Association (USLA) for educational beach safety resources.
- Visit the International Surf Lifesaving Association (ISLA) to learn how current (and future) lifeguards are helping coastal communities in need across the globe.
- Learn about Washington State’s open water drowning prevention strategies. (Washington State Department of Health)