First let's review:
Water Safety Tip #1: NEVER swim alone! Go here for more details.
Water Safety Tip #2: Reach or throw....DON'T GO! Go here for more details.
So our water safety tip for this week is: ALWAYS wear a life jacket!
In Idaho, we have a lot of beautiful, natural water and people are big into outdoor sports. Life jackets may be cumberson, unattractive and annoying, but they are absolutely ESSENTIAL! This rule applies not only to little children, but also to older children who are strong swimmers and adults. While our lakes, rivers and streams are beautiful, they are also quite cold, and even the strongest swimmer can quickly succumb to hypothermia. Just last summer, a boat carrying 8 adults and 4 children flipped over after hitting some rocks on Payette Lake at night. Two people died in that accident, one upon impact and the other from hypothermia. None of the 12 passengers was wearing life jackets. Click here to see the full story. My own brother, while floating the Boise River at the age of 19, got knocked off of his raft by a low-hanging branch and immediately sucked under some brush at the bank. He was a VERY strong swimmer, but he couldn't get out between the current and the brush. If it hadn't been for his brightly-colored life jacket, his friends might not have been able to locate him quickly enough to pull him out. Accidents happen, so be sure to always wear a life jacket in open water.
Cathy teaches swim lessons in Boise, Idaho.