Safe Swimming and Diving on Vacation
Some excellent advice from our friends at CDC about safe swimming and diving.
The water is a beautiful but hostile environment. Never let the children out of your sight.
Safe Swimming and Diving- AardvarkCompare
When we came across this CDC advice at AardvarkCompare we were astonished. We had no idea how many US citizens were killed each year in the water when traveling. Do read the advice, and remember to keep an eye on your children and grandchildren.
We have spent enough time on the beaches and around swimming pools to know how quickly a problem can arise. It is so easy for a child to knock their head or get out of their depth.
Safe Swimming and Diving - Introduction
Traveling can provide the opportunity to enjoy many water-related activities, but there is also a risk of injury or illness – drowning accounts for 14% of the deaths of US citizens traveling abroad. From swimming in a hotel’s lavish pool to surfing in the Maldives, people who are around water should follow these tips to stay healthy and safe.
Safe Swimming and Diving - Avoid Injury and Drowning
- Swim only when lifeguards are on duty.
- Learn about the local water conditions, currents, and rules before entering the water.
- Use proper safety equipment such as lifejackets.
- Make sure your gear, such as scuba masks and tanks, are properly fitted and maintained.
- Never swim alone or in unfamiliar waters.
- DO NOT drink alcohol before or during swimming, diving, or boating. Alcohol affects balance, coordination, and judgment.
- DO NOT dive in shallow water. Always enter water feet first.
- Be aware of and avoid hidden obstacles in the water.
- Supervise children closely around water.
- Obey posted signs and warnings, and recognize that warnings may not always be present.
- Know the meaning of and obey warnings represented by colored beach flags. These may vary from one beach to another.
- Use experienced guides when boating, scuba diving, or participating in other water-related activities.
- Learn the risks associated with local sea animals, such as urchins, jellyfish, coral, and sea lice, before you get in or on the water.
- Watch for signs of rip currents (water moving quickly in a channel away from shore). If you are caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore until free, then swim diagonally toward the shore.
Safe Swimming and Diving - Avoid Germs in the Water
- Don’t swallow the water you are in or on.
- Don’t swim with open cuts, abrasions, or wounds. Breaks in the skin can let harmful germs into your body.
- Don’t swim if you have diarrhea.
- Don’t swim in cloudy water.
Be careful about swimming or wading in fresh water in some countries:
- Infections such as schistosomiasis and leptospirosis are spread by contact with fresh water.
- These microbes can penetrate your skin, so swallowing water isn’t necessary to cause infection.
- Avoid contact with any fresh water (lakes, rivers, streams) where these infections are a problem (see the destination pages for more information).
- Seek medical care if you think you have been exposed to a waterborne infection.