Be Safer in Open Water

Swim near a lifeguard. Obey warning rules and flags. Learn rip current safety.

The Basics

  • 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 (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)

Action Items

Dive Deeper

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