Staying Safe in Cool Water on Hot Days

By  | 

According to the Washoe County Sheriff's Office, most drowning victims are male between the ages of 15 and 44. But there are precautions you can take around open water, to keep you and your family safe.

I met with members of the Washoe County Search and Rescue team about what precautions should be taken.

Deputy Tim Graham says it really comes down to common sense. He says one of the most important things is never to swim alone.

But of course, that's no guarantee of safety. Both of the recent victims were with other people.

That's why search and rescuers say it's important to have a secondary plan. "You should always have a throw device with you," Graham says. "It's a safety thing and most are available for $25."

Graham says if there isn't a floatation device available even a cooler will do.

He also says while the river or a lake can help cool you off from the hot sun - it's zapping your energy at the same time by taking away body heat and making you tired.

In fact, the beginnings of hypothermia can even set in. "If you're tired don't go in the water - don't push yourself one last time - it's always a bad idea," Graham says.

If you're in a boat, innertube, raft, or kayak Graham says you should always wear a life jacket - not just have one available.

"You never know when you're going to go overboard and if you do, there's no telling whether you'll have the opportunity to grab one or have someone throw one to you," Graham says.

As for swimming in the river, always check your surroundings before jumping in because, Graham says, any area with white water means increased flow. And that can be dangerous for even the most trained rescuers.

Some other things to remember, most aquatic accidents happen within fifteen feet of safety. That's why throw devices, like a bouy or safety ring, are such good things to have available.