Safety in a Simple Swim
This summer, there will be tragedy. Of course there will be sunshine, holidays, happiness, laughter and more, but unfortunately, according to statistics, there will be tragedy.
When the summer arrives and the sun is warm, children find themselves drawn to water, whether it is a river, canal, reservoir or flooded quarry, or a lake, or the sea, that lovely cooling water has the potential to drown the unwary, the ignorant, the plain unlucky, and most likely, youngsters who have not learned to swim properly.
Learning to swim can be a fun activity, but unlike many other physical activities, it can be the one that could save your child’s life. Playing football, or skateboarding are really good ways to burn energy and stay healthy, but scoring goals, or skating turns will not get them out of deep water.
Swimming in supervised swimming pools is the ideal way to exercise and improve techniques, but in the heat of the sun, especially to the young, any water can look like good water to cool off in, but much of open outdoor water can carry hazards that are generally unseen.
In the sea, even on calm days, there can be currents which are invisible from the beach or rocks, the tides are obviously one cause, and it is always prudent to know times of the local tide.
Rip currents, though localised, can be very strong, they are escape channels for breaking waves and can run at an angle from, or directly away from the beach. Only strong swimmers will stand any chance surviving so learn to swim and you stand much more chance of surviving.
Longshore currents run parallel to the shore, they can be longer than rip currents and can influence or be influenced by each other. The most common danger is trying to swim against a strong current, which can prove not only futile but can sap energy to the point of exhaustion.
It is better to let the current take you where it will, and swim back from where it releases you. This may cause some apprehension but can well prove the safest way.
Inland bodies of still water, lakes, reservoirs, or flooded quarries all carry their potential hazards, the primary one, on a nice hot day, is that of cold water.
Deep water remains cold most of the time. The upper few feet of water may have warmed invitingly, but areas of very cold water can be encountered, and the instant reaction of the body, can be the same as going into shock. In sudden cold, the blood rushes to the vital organs, depriving the brain, and making limbs feel sluggish and weak, and safety far away.
The least you can do before this summer, is make sure your child learns to swim.