Summer Water Safety Reminders

Metro reminds Portlanders that when boating, floating or even splashing around, it’s important to do so safely. Our area’s rivers and lakes in and around Metro parks and natural areas are wild bodies of water and, unlike swimming pools, these waters can have currents, underwater hazards and dramatic temperature variations.
Always wear a life jacket and make sure it fits properly. Life jackets come in different sizes so make sure to check the label for height and weight requirements. Infant and child life jackets include a collar and leg strap. When putting a life jacket on yourself or others, make sure all zippers and clips are fastened, the straps are pulled tight and the jacket is at the shoulders. If it slides up to the ears, it’s too big. If it stays tight, you’re ready for the water.
Even if you are an experienced swimmer, go with a buddy. Knowing how to swim does not make a person drown-proof, regardless of age. Also, keep a close eye on children in the water at all times.
Signs of drowning are different in children than in adults. Older children tend to extend their arms to press down to try to lift their mouth above the water. Younger children typically remain with their face in the water with little to no movement in their arms and legs. Rather than yelling, children struggle to take in air and it can be less than 20 seconds before a child sinks below the surface.
Choose natural water swimming spots carefully. Swimming in a river or lake is very different from swimming in a pool. Know the risks of natural bodies of water before you go. Those risks can include water quality issues, like blue-green algae; rocks and shallow areas; fast moving currents; and harsh weather conditions, like strong winds that can send debris into the water and cause strong currents.
Swim, boat and supervise swimmers sober. Alcohol and other drugs can impair reaction time, reduce coordination, remove inhibitions and numb the senses. Just like you wouldn’t drive impaired, neither should you recreate in the water impaired, for the safety of yourself and others around you.
By being mindful of water safety, a cool dip on a warm day can make for a relaxing outing.

Open water swimming. Photo by Metro.

Summer Water Safety Reminders

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