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​Safety on the water

​​​​​​​​​​Boating, tubing, water-skiing, lake swimming, canoeing and kayaking can be a fun and safe experience - or not. If the decision to participate in these activities for the first time is a quick one, it may occur without consideration for safety, or knowledge gleaned from a similar experience or prior training.

While you may not think of water recreational activities as the cause of sporting injuries, think again. Water tubing is more dangerous than water-skiing because tubers have little control over the tube’s movement and forward direction. Propeller injuries lead the cause of serious injury in water-skiing, and blunt trauma is the leading cause of death in personal watercraft accidents. Alcohol consumption increases the risk of crashes and falling overboard and reduces the chance of survival if in the water

Consider these safety tips for summertime water fun:

  • Make sure you are wearing a properly fitting life jacket that won’t ride up over your head. A Type III (flotation aid) life jacket is recommended.
  • View our infographic teaching you the basic hand signals​ before you jump into the water, such as a hand slashing the neck for stop; giving a thumb’s down or up for decreasing or increasing speed; or signaling OK with tip of your index finger and thumb together. 
  • Keep the engine off when a tuber or skier is entering or leaving the water. Never back up to retrieve someone who has fallen.
  • Make sure the tuber or skier signals they are OK before starting the engine and pulling ahead.
  • Use an extra set of eyes. Someone on the boat should serve as a spotter to keep sight of the person being towed.
  • Signal before turning so the tuber knows when the turn is coming and in which direction.
  • Provide extra space for the boaters around you. Your added wake takes up more space in the lake affecting other watercraft, docks and cross-wakes.
  • Look on both sides of the boat before turning to retrieve a fallen tuber or skier.
  • Signal you are ready for pick up from the water by clasping your hands together over your head.
  • Keep your ski tips up in the water after falling, to be more easily seen for pick up.

In general, never swim alone; never swim or boat during a thunderstorm; and avoid diving. Unless you know the depth, go feet first.

Make your summer fun in the water memorable in a good way by keeping it safe.​


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