Gateway Gazette

Summer Safety in the Water

We’d like to remind you that hazards – on land and in water – don’t take summer holidays.

With summer in full swing, it’s only natural that people will flock to bodies of water as the mercury rises. It’s a good way to cool down, and hitting the lakes, rivers and streams of Alberta can be a lot of fun, too.

We don’t want to stop people from doing fun activities – we just urge you to do them safely. 

So, if you’re looking to take a lazy rafting trip down the river or go for a float out in the lake, be prepared and consider these water safety tips:

– Always wear a life jacket/personal flotation device (PFD) and make sure it works

– Bring a bailing device – don’t leave it to someone else to bail you out

– Bring a paddle – don’t be caught up the creek without one!

– Carry a whistle. It can be loud out on the water and whistles can be an effective way of alerting people if you’re in trouble

– Have a towing line with you. Bring rope to pull your boat to safety in case of emergency

– Don’t tie rafts together. If you encounter strong currents, this can make waters more difficult to navigate

– Don’t drink alcohol while you’re out on the water. You shouldn’t get behind the wheel after too many drinks – same goes for drinking and boating

– Plan ahead and know the waterways you’re traveling on. Learn about potential hazards on rivers, creeks and lakes you’re navigating

– Bring sunscreen. Sun burns hurt, and they don’t look very good either.

It’s also very important to remember that by ignoring these safety tips, you’re not just putting your own life in danger. You can also jeopardize the safety of first responders who may have to come to your aid. Have you ever tried swimming with a police belt on? Or in full firefighter turnout gear? Putting your own life at risk also endangers those who have to come and treat you, including police, firefighters and paramedics.

So, have fun this summer and enjoy the water – but please do it safely!

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