5 Ways to Practice Water Safety and Keep Your Family Safe

Kevin Gardner

Swimming is a preferred activity for many children and adults. Whether swimming with friends in a home pool or playing in the ocean, it is important to practice water safety. Drowning and injury are serious risks that can occur while swimming, and it is important to have safeguards in place to keep swimmers safe and accounted for. Here are several ways to practice water safety, whether at home or in public swimming locations.

Enroll in Swim Lessons

The number one way to practice water safety is to enroll everyone in swim lessons. These classes not only teach children and adults how to swim but also focus on survival skills. Swimmers are taught how to float on their backs, tread water, and find the edge of a pool and climb out to safety. As they continue on with lessons, they will become more proficient swimmers which will, in turn, improve their ability to keep themselves safe or to get to safety in any body of water. (

Install Appropriate Barriers Around Home Pools

Drowning is the second leading cause of death for children aged 0 to 5 in the United States. Because of this, barriers are required for all residential pools. In addition to installing fences or walls, it is recommended to have a very secure lock on the gate and to also install a pool alarm. These are available both for the gate and the surface of the water, and can quickly alert the parent or homeowner when someone is in the pool area. It is important to factor these safety measures into the cost of a pool and upkeep when planning to install or maintain a home pool.

Use the Buddy System

In addition to preparing children with basic swimming skills, it is important to impress upon them that they should never swim alone. Children should always have a buddy in and near the pool, even in situations where a lifeguard is present, and should be sure to check in with one another frequently. Each buddy can ensure that the other is safe and seek help if their buddy is in danger. While they typically have more developed swimming and safety skills, adults are also encouraged to never swim alone, as emergencies can happen to anyone at any time.

Wear Life Jackets When Out on Open Water

Swimming is not the only situation in which you need to be aware of and practice water safety. Boating can be incredibly risky, so it's important to make sure that there are life jackets available for all passengers aboard the watercraft. Moreover, it is recommended that everyone wear the life jackets for the entire time that they are on the boat, as an accident can happen quickly and there may not be an opportunity otherwise to find and put it on before it is needed. Life jackets should also be worn when using other watercraft, such as jet skis, water skis, and wakeboards.

Be Careful Around Natural Bodies of Water

Whether boating, swimming or just sitting on the shore, it is important to be careful and understand your surroundings when on or near natural bodies of water. Oceans, lakes, and rivers have sloping floors that can easily drop off unexpectedly, and both have currents that can quickly pull you under and sweep you away. These bodies of water also make it difficult to see when someone has fallen underwater and to quickly spot their location, which means that a rescue can take longer than in a pool. While swimming in and enjoyment of these natural bodies of water doesn't need to be avoided altogether, it is a good idea to exercise caution and to be aware of your surroundings.

Water safety is essential for keeping children and adults safe when swimming or enjoying water activities. These tips for practicing water safety are paramount for ensuring that everyone has an enjoyable and safe experience at the pool, lake or ocean.