Vermont's lakes, rivers and swimming holes are an important part of our recreational landscape. Whether boating, swimming or just splashing around, here are tips to safely enjoy waterways and pools:
- Always swim with a buddy. Never swim alone or allow someone to swim alone.
- Do not leave young children unattended near the water. Never trust a child to watch another child.
- Learn to swim, and teach your children to swim.
- Make sure that others in your group swim in areas appropriate for their swimming ability.
- Always stay within arm’s reach of young children.
- Avoid alcohol. Do not drink and swim.
- Know where the closest phone is located.
- In case of an emergency, dial 9-1-1.
- Know the terrain.
- Be aware of and avoid drop-offs and hidden obstacles in natural water sites.
- Do not dive into water, always enter water feet-first.
- In Vermont, there are rapidly changing weather conditions. Check your weather forecast and watch for signs of changing weather, such as storm clouds and high winds.
- Install fencing around your pool.
- Don’t leave toys out that encourage children to go in the pool area without supervision.
- Never leave a child alone near standing water, bathtub, bucket of water or toilet. Small children are top-heavy and can fall in and drown within minutes.
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, nearly 75% of people who died in boating incidents in 2007 drowned. Of those, 84% were not wearing a life jacket. Operator error, lack of training, and alcohol use contribute to the risk of drowning in a boating incident; 29% of deaths occurred on boats that were anchored, docked, moored or drifting.