Memorial Day weekend marks the start of summer activities across the nation. Many will head to the beach or to the pool to enjoy the warm weather. Before you pack up the swimming and boating gear, however, Professional Insurance Agents of New York State Inc. (PIANY), is urging consumers to consider the fact that most boating and swimming accidents occur because individuals don''t stop to think about safety.
"The most tragic accident is the one that easily could have been prevented," said Lynee Frank, president of PIANY. "By observing water safety guidelines, we can help reduce the incidence of boating and swimming accidents and keep our families safe."
Frank recommends several water safety tips to help you stay safe this summer:
- Never swim alone.
- Stay close to the boat, pool edge or shore in case you need to get to safety by yourself.
- Know your swimming ability limits, and those of your family, and stay within them.
- Learn the proper way to dive, and always check the water depth before diving.
- Maintain constant supervision. Watch children around any water environment, no matter what swimming skills your child has and no matter how shallow the water is.
- Leave the alcohol behind when swimming or boating. More than 800 Americans died each year in boating accidents, and more than 50 percent of all boating accidents are alcohol-related.
- When boating, everyone on board should wear a Cost Guard-approved personal flotation device. Have a first-aid kit on board and bring any prescription medicines that may be needed.
- Equip you boat with a ship-to-shore radio in case of emergency.
- Attend a boating safety class. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, lack of boater safety training is a major factor in the number of accidents on the water.
by Virginia Sutcliffe