Safety Tip of the Month

5 Steps to Summer Water Safety
Nothing sounds more appealing in the summer than swimming in a nearby lake, canoeing down a river or jumping into the pool, but as inviting as water is, it can also be dangerous if we don’t take the right precautions.With more than 1.5 million aquatics-related merit badges earned by Scouts since 2009 and more than 181,336 earned last year, the Boy Scouts of America’s programs aim to prepare young people with the skills and steps to take to be able to enjoy water-related fun safely. For at least 80 years, checklists have been in place to make sure those aquatic experiences are positive ones.

Here are five things everybody should remember to stay safe in the water.

  1. Learn to swim. You don’t have to be working on a Scout rank to learn to swim. This basic skill is fundamental to ensuring that you are able to take advantage of cooling off safely in the summer.
  2. Look for a safe area. From rising rivers to sudden thunderstorms, it’s important to assess the environment you will be in to make sure that everybody in your group can safely enjoy the experience. If conditions change, be prepared to change your plans to stay safe.
  3. Wear a life jacket. Where causes of death among boating fatalities in 2017 are known, 76 percent of the victims drowned, according to the United States Coast Guard. In cases where it is known whether or not life jackets were in use, 84.5 percent of the victims were not wearing life jackets, and two-thirds of the victims were reportedly good swimmers. Taking this one step can save your life and should be mandatory for anybody in a boat, kayak or canoe.
  4. Buddy system. Not only are the outdoors more enjoyable when you can share a memory, but having a buddy on your next outing helps ensure that there’s somebody there to help you in the case of an emergency.
  5. How to help. Once you’ve taken steps to stay safe in the water, know what to look for and how to help in an emergency. Learn to recognize the signs of drowning since it often does not look like what you’d think, and then make sure to know techniques to help, including CPR and Reach-Throw-Row-Go so that you can help.

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