Water Safety in Vermont

Water Safety in Vermont

 

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. Assign an adult to be a Water Watcher. This person is always watching every swimmer to be sure they are safe, and is not distracted with a cell phone, eating or reading a book. Adults can take turns being the “watcher” so the other adults can relax and have fun with the group. 
  • Drowning is not like in the movies where actors splash about and yell for help. It is swift and silent, so you may not see that a child or adult is in trouble until it is too late. Pay attention.
  • Learn to swim, and teach your children to swim. But, even as children gain good water skills, don’t let up on your oversight because they still need supervision from an adult.   
  • 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.
  • In case of an emergency, dial 9-1-1.
  • The CDC has more tips on water safety. 

Teach your children about water safety with the CDC's water safety website.

Rivers, Lakes and Swimming Holes
  • Be aware of and avoid drop-offs and hidden underwater obstacles in natural water sites.
  • Do not dive into water, always enter water feet-first.
  • Be aware of rapidly changing weather conditions. Check the weather forecast and watch for signs of change such as sudden storm clouds and high winds.
  • Heavy rainfalls can create potentially dangerous conditions in swim holes, streams, rivers, and waterfalls. These conditions of high water or strong undercurrents can linger several days after a storm so swimmers and boaters need to assess the water depth and flow before recreating.

Swim Hole Safety Tips

Swimming Pool and Home Safety
  • 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.
  • Do not leave young children unattended near the water. Never trust a child to watch another child.
  • Assign an adult to be a Water Watcher. This person is always watching every swimmer to be sure they are safe, and is not distracted with a cell phone, eating or reading a book. Adults can take turns being the “watcher” so the other adults can relax and have fun with the group.
  • Refer to these tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics and SafeKids.org.
Safe Boating

Weather conditions such as heavy rainfall, gusts of wind, and thunder storms can create potentially dangerous conditions in lakes, ponds and rivers. Conditions of high water or strong undercurrents can linger several days after a storm, so boaters need to:

  • Assess the water depth and flow before launch.
  • Be aware of rapidly changing weather conditions. Check the weather forecast and watch for signs of change, such as sudden storm clouds and high winds.
  • Always wear a life jacket (personal protective device). In Vermont it is the law that children under twelve must wear a life jacket when boating. Be sure the life jacket fits properly.  
  • Use the links to Coast Guard for more tips on boating safety.