Water safety is not just for lifeguards and teachers but swimmers of all ages and parents too. Water sports of all kinds involve risks that vary depending on ability, location and type of activity. Where our online learning content highlights some important considerations, it is impossible to list every potential risk and cannot guarantee safety. Oshun Swim strongly recommends that swimmers of all ages and parents seek water safety advice from organisations such as the Royal Lifesaving Society where learning is often free or low cost and well worth the investment in time. To start you off, here are our top ten essential water safety considerations.
Our top 10 general water safety considerations:
- Never swim alone. Not even the strongest swimmers are immune to having an accident and needing help.
- Ensure you have the means to call for help if necessary. Having a spotter on dry land is useful.
- Take part in activities under the supervision of a qualified instructor, coach or lifeguard where possible.
- Take part in a water safety awareness and rescue course.
- Research any open water location including weather, currents, tides, access points and temperature before you visit. Conditions can vary over time, so it is worth checking before each visit.
- If you intend to practice your activities without an instructor present, ensure you have gained sufficient knowledge and skill to do so safely. Never stop learning!
- Be respectful of local rules and regulations.
- Set a good example to others. Posting a dangerous activity on social media may encourage others to do the same. Encouraging others to trespass on private land may mean that future access is denied to everyone.
- Be mindful that your own ability may not match that of your friends. Do not encourage weaker swimmers to take part in activities that are beyond their ability. Being a strong swimmer does not necessarily mean you are able to safely supervise or rescue friends or children that you are responsible for.
- Invest in safety equipment. Lifejackets, tow floats, wetsuits, safety helmets and first aid equipment might be expensive and might not give the best look for your social media, but it might save your life.
An important note about rescue services:
Did you know that in the UK, the Coastguard, Lifeboats, Air Ambulance and Mountain Rescue are all CHARITIES? Unlike the police, fire and ambulance services, their availability relies on donors and volunteers. Incidents involving water are often likely to need these rescue teams. You can support them by acting responsibly to reduce the chance of a rescue being needed in the first place and consider a donation to keep these services available .