McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

State news

July 9, 2014

10 ways to play it safe at the lake

A recent Red Cross survey found that eight out of 10 Americans are planning water activities such as going to the beach, pool, water park, boating or fishing this summer.

A third of all Americans plan to swim at a place without a lifeguard. If a trip to the lake is part of someone’s holiday plans, the Red Cross has 10 tips that will help lake goers stay out of harm’s way and enjoy the summer.

Here are 10 tips for staying

safe at the lake

1. If someone plans to swim in a lake, they should always check weather conditions before going in the water. Remember, “if thunder roars, go indoors.”

2. Swim only at a designated swimming area, preferably staffed with a lifeguard, and listen to all lifeguard instructions.

3. Always swim with a buddy and always swim sober.

4. Young children and inexperienced swimmers should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.

5. Everyone should enter the water feet first if they can’t see the bottom or don’t know how deep the water is.

6. Be aware of the danger of currents in rivers and streams. If caught in one, swim parallel to the shore until out of the current. When free, turn and swim toward shore. If unable to swim to the shore, call out for help, float or tread water until free of the current and then head toward shore.

7. Limit the amount of direct sunlight received between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15. Reapply often.

8. Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water regularly, even if not thirsty. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine in them.

9. Protect the eyes by wearing sunglasses that will absorb 100 percent of UV sunlight.

10. Wear lake shoes. The rocks are hot and can be sharp. Glass and other sharp objects can cut feet; keep them protected.

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