Dive safely into summer: 8 tips for enjoying water activities responsibly

On hot summer days, the call of the water becomes irresistible. Whether you’re swimming in the sea, kayaking down a river, or splashing in the pool, water offers refreshing relief from the heat and brings an unparalleled feeling of freedom and happiness.
Unless your water activities are limited to lounging on the beach, understanding and practicing water safety measures is key. This article serves as a comprehensive guide to ensure your summer water adventures are not only fun and memorable but also reasonably safe.

Enjoy water activities safely

1. Never swim alone

The first universal rule of thumb for safe swimming is never to do it alone. Even if you’re a confident swimmer, unexpected waves and currents can bring you under the water or drag you deep into the sea. A trivial situation like a cramp in your leg can become fatal if no one’s around to see you need help.

If nobody wants to join you in the water, at least take a friend to wait for you on the shore. Agree on a sign or sound that would mean you’ve gotten in trouble and need help.

2. Use water safety gear

When engaging in activities like stand-up paddling (SUP), catamaran, wakeboarding, or kiteboarding, always wear appropriate safety gear such as a life vest and a helmet. Ensure that everyone participating in water activities wears a properly fitted life jacket. Life jackets are a non-negotiable safety item for inexperienced swimmers and children.

If boating or rafting are part of your summer plans, ensure your vessel is properly equipped with life jackets, floatation devices, navigation lights, and emergency supplies. Additionally, never operate a boat under the influence of alcohol, and always designate a sober driver.

If you’re trying a new water activity for the first time, getting proper training is essential. If you don’t have an instructor available, go with someone more experienced and ask them to teach you the basics. At the very least, watch video tutorials on basic safety rules when doing that particular sport.

3. Avoid unfamiliar areas for swimming

Never jump or dive in places you don’t know well enough

Whenever possible, choose safe and well-known swimming locations with lifeguards. Avoid swimming in unfamiliar or unmarked areas, and respect warning signs posted by authorities regarding hazardous conditions. Always swim horizontally (along the coast) instead of swimming farther inside the water body.

Never jump or dive in places you don’t know like the back of your hand – and even then, watch out for underwater hazards. Even places you know well can have changing conditions, for example, currents can modify the riverbed, and tides can rapidly change the depth of the sea or ocean.

4. Know (and respect) your limits

Whether swimming, diving, or participating in water sports, avoid pushing yourself beyond your comfort or skill level, as this increases the risk of accidents or injury. Start slowly, gradually building confidence and skills under controlled conditions.

Even if you’re an experienced swimmer, it’s wise to know how to react if you find yourself in trouble in the water, for example:

  • Always try to stay calm and conserve your energy as much as possible,
  • If you're near a buoy, floating object, or shoreline, try to swim toward it slowly and steadily,
  • If there are people nearby, call out for assistance and wave your arms to attract attention.

5. Be aware of weather conditions

Summer weather can be unpredictable, and sudden storms can pose a severe threat to water safety. Before heading out, check the weather forecast and be prepared to cancel or postpone activities in case of adverse conditions.

When entering the water, pay attention to changing conditions, such as rough waves or strong currents. Especially if your water activity involves boards, kites, or sails, be careful not to be dragged deep into the sea or hit by a hard object.

Finally, when swimming in the sea or ocean, always pick a fixed reference point on the beach and make sure you don’t float too far from it.

6. Be extra cautious when swimming with kids

Never leave children unattended near water.

Never underestimate the importance of supervision when children are near water. Whether you're at the pool, beach, or backyard pond, safety should always be the top priority when swimming with kids:

  • Never leave children unattended near water, even for a moment. Designate a responsible adult to actively supervise children at all times,
  • Avoid distractions such as smartphones, conversations, or reading while supervising children in or around water,
  • Choose swimwear and life jackets in bright colors for increased visibility in the water,
  • Establish clear water safety rules for kids, e.g., no running around the pool, no pushing others, and always asking for permission before entering the water,
  • Teach children about the dangers of rip currents, waves, and diving in unfamiliar areas,
  • For older kids, implement the "buddy system" where individuals swim in pairs and keep an eye out for each other,
  • Lead by example by demonstrating safe swimming behaviors, such as wearing a life jacket, following pool rules, and practicing sun protection.

Last but not least, it’s highly recommended to enroll children in swim lessons as early as possible to teach them essential water safety skills. Swim lessons will familiarize children with water and build their confidence and skills.

7. Remember hydration and sun protection

Hydration may seem less needed if you’re spending time in the water, but it’s a deceptive notion. Dehydration can sneak up quickly, particularly when engaging in physical activities under the sun. Bring plenty of water and take regular breaks to rehydrate and rest, especially if your outing lasts all day.

Protecting your skin from the sun's harmful rays is crucial during water activities. Apply waterproof sunscreen with a high SPF rating before heading out, and reapply as needed, especially after swimming or sweating. Wear protective clothing such as hats and sunglasses to minimize sun exposure.

8. Learn CPR and first aid

Knowing CPR and basic first aid can make a critical difference in saving lives in an emergency. Therefore, it’s an excellent idea to learn CPR and basic first aid techniques to be able to respond to water-related emergencies. While enrolling in a first-aid course would be the best path, you can start by watching videos online and learning the basics of CPR in the case of drowning.

Keep a phone nearby to call for help in case of an emergency. When children are supervised by other adults, ensure that all caregivers know what to do in emergencies and how to access emergency services.

Accident insurance – your life vest in water-related accidents

Once you’ve covered all water safety tips, the last step for your peace of mind is getting personal accident insurance.

Accidents can happen to anyone regardless of their age or swimming expertise. The good news is that accident insurance is very flexible, and you can make sure it includes proper protection for the activities you love doing.

Every year, preventable accidents occur, highlighting the importance of understanding and practicing water safety measures. Remember, preparation and prevention are key to avoiding emergencies in the water, but knowing how to react if you get in trouble can be a lifesaving skill. We wish you lots of safe and responsible water fun!

You may also find interesting: