During the summer most of us like to unwind by going down the beach to cool off from the sweltering heat. Those without access to the beach prefer swimming by pools and taking boat rides down rivers for that exhilarating swimming experience.
Ocean and river swimming is a different ball game altogether and requires more caution. Unlike a swimming pool experience in which you know what to expect, swimming in a river or an ocean presents a lot more dangers than the swimming pool. Before jumping into a river or an ocean for a dip, you should consider the strength of the currents, the gradient, and the waves and tides for your own safety.
Observe common hygiene practices
Even though swimming pool water is often treated with chlorine, they are still not safe for drinking. However, the water of rivers and oceans is worse. The water in them is all natural and untreated and therefore have many microbes and other living organisms residing in them. Drinking river water will most likely lead to you contracting water-borne diseases, some of which can be deadly.
Regardless of how thirsty you are, you should never drink the water you are swimming in. It is contaminated and will likely make you sick.
Have a companion
You need someone to watch your back. A companion will help you should you have an accident or start drowning. They will help you find your balance and pull you to the safety of the shore or call for help. Having someone watching over you considerably cuts the risk of drowning.
It is also important to swim at rivers and beaches that have lifeguards on standby. Lifeguards are professionally trained to identify swimmers in distress before the rest of other beachgoers do and rush to their help. While your companion may be preoccupied with their own swimming, lifeguards are always on the look, and it is in your safety interests to swim near one.
Have safety gear
You need to take the initiative for your own safety. Before diving into the ocean, it is important to have the appropriate safety gear with you. These are equipment and accessories meant to protect you from drowning namely life jackets and float tubes.
If you are not an expert swimmer, you need to have your life jackets on at all times you are on a water body. Float tubes such as the ones reviewed on funattic.com come in handy in keeping you afloat until help arrives.
Know what drowning looks like
It is important to know what drowning looks like you can help yourself and others should it happen. It requires a trained eye to notice a drowning person since the signs are often so subtle.
A drowning person always gasps for air with their head tilted unnaturally backward which makes it look like they are trying to swim with their back on the water. The open mouth and the unfocused eyes resulting from oxygen deprivation should be the giveaway and the call to action to summon for help. A drowning will seldom shout or scream while dramatically flailing their hands in the air. Instead, they lose their motor control and all that shows is fear on their faces.