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Play it Cool and Be Safe

The basics are pretty simple.

  • Know your Environment
    • Be aware of the local environment, conditions and weather before entering the water. There are different safety rules for beaches, rivers, lakes and public or private swimming pools.
  • Behave safely
    • Obey all water safety signs. Limit your alcohol comsumption. Wear your life vest when appropriate.
  • Learn to swim
    • Being able to swim is an essential water safety skill. Everybody, especially school age children, should be taught to swim, and to stay afloat. If you get into trouble you should know basic survival skills.
  • Supervision—
    • Supervision means constant watching, not occasionally glancing at the child in your care while you read or snooze. Don’t forget to supervise children near pools, rivers, beaches, fish ponds, dams and bathtubs. It takes only seconds for a child to drown.

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Water Safety Tips for the Home

  • Supervision means constant visual contact, not the occasional glance.
  • If you leave the pool or water area, even for a moment, take the children with you.
  • A swimming pool fence is not a substitute for supervision.
  • Display a resuscitation chart on your pool fence.
  • Familiarize children with water sense by taking them to lessons at the local pool.
  • Empty paddle pools when they are not in use.
  • Empty baths, basins, and sinks immediately after use.

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Beach Safety Tips

  • Always swim at a beach patrolled by lifeguards.
  • Swim between the flags that mark the safest areas to swim.
  • Always swim under supervision or with a friend.
  • Read and obey the safety signs.
  • If you are unsure of conditions, ask a lifeguard.
  • Always go surfing with someone else.
  • Don’t surf in an area where swimmers are.
  • Don't swim where others are surfing.
  • Don’t swim under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Don’t run and dive in the water.
  • Check the depth of the water.
  • Always check for submerged objects.
  • Check it’s okay to swim before you enter the water, conditions change regularly.
  • If you get caught in a rip at a patrolled beach, do not panic. Float with the rip and raise one arm for assistance.
  • Be sun smart and use at least an SPF15 sunscreen, wear a long-sleeve shirt and broad brimmed hat.
  • If at altitude, up your SPF factor.
  • Add a wide brimmed hat and long sleeve shirt for extra protection.
  • Wear sunglasses to prevent burning your eyes.

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Wear a Life Jacket if...

  • You are a child under 12.
  • You are being towed on skis, wakeboard, tube, air chair, etc. by a boat.
  • You are riding a jet ski.
  • You are boating alone.
  • You are a weak or non swimmer.
  • You are boating at night.
  • The weather turns bad.
  • There ia an emergency.

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Boating Safety Tips

  • Don’t drink and boat.
  • Maintain a good lookout.
  • Be aware of your surrounding and submerged objects.
  • Operate your boat at a safe speed.
  • Always let someone know where you are going, your point of departure and when you plan to return.

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Man Overboard

If you fall overboard, or are swept out to sea, or are caught in a river current, stay calm. You can stay afloat for a long time, even if you are exhausted. Some things to remember:

  • Use any available buoyant object to assist flotation.
  • Remain as still as possible to conserve energy and reduce heat loss.
  • If you must swim, use slow relaxed strokes.
  • Breathe in a regular and controlled manner.
  • To attract attention, float on your back and raise one arm. Waving both arms makes it very difficult to keep your head above water.

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How to be a Good Ski Boat Crew

Here's how to do all the right things when on someone else's boat. Chances are, a good crew member will be invited for the coveted early morning glass run.

  • Remove your shoes before stepping into the boat.
  • Make sure there is no sand on your body, towel, vest, ski and anything else you bring into the boat.
  • Don't bring any food or drinks, especially alcohol, on board unless you ask the boat owner first.
  • Be sure there’s a life jacket on board for you.
  • Pay attention to any instructions given by the boat driver.
  • Keep the inside of the boat tidy, as clear as possible from tangled ropes, scattered equipment, clothing, suntan lotion, etc., to prevent tripping over something.
  • Do not sit on the inboard engine cover.
  • While someone is skiing, keep conversation to a minimum to prevent distracting the driver.
  • Keep an eye on the ski rope at all times to make sure it does not make its way under the boat and get in the way of another boat that is passing.
  • Help translate what a skier is trying to communicate to the boat driver. Learn the hand signals.
  • Be prepared to grab any equipment out of the water from a skier. Be careful not to hit the boat when bringing it in.
  • When you return to shore, offer to help clean up and be sure to take everything off you brought with you.

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Know the Skier Hand Signal

Hand signals are an extremely important form of communication while water skiing or wake boarding. A skier yelling instructions over the noise of the boat motor can be nearly impossible to hear. Unsuccessful communication with the skier can be dangerous.

Verbal communication can be used when the skier is still floating in the water before the boat accelerates. When the rope is tight and the handle is in the skier’s hands, the driver waits on a signal from the skier if they are ready or not.

The people in the boat should yell, “Ready?” The skier should either say “Hit It” or “Wait.” The words “Go” and “No” should not be used because they sound very similar.

Common Signals–
Slower Speet


Faster Speed


Speed Okay

Speed Okay

Other Signals the Skier & Observer should know

  • There are times when the driver wants the skier to stay directly behind the boat. This happens when there may be a lot of congestion or a potentially dangerous situation ahead. The observer should extend one arm straight in front of their body and move it up and down.
  • A way to indicate to the skier that wakes are coming is to extend one arm straight out to the side and move it up and down.
  • If the driver needs to turn the boat, the signal is given by rotating the forearm and hand around in wide circles. Skiers should get inside the wake for a safe turn.
  • A skier should signal the driver they want to get back to the beach or dock by patting their head several times with their hand.
  • If the skier wants to let go of the tow rope they should use a hand to simulate a “slice across the neck.”
  • When a skier has fallen, they should raise an arm to signal that they are okay.
  • While a skier is waiting in the water for the boat to come back around after a fall or drop, the skier should raise a ski or wake board so that any approaching boats can see them in the water.

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