Water safety – open water

There’s nothing quite like being out in open waters, but did you know that over 80% of accidental drowning happen in open water? A lot of this is due to the lack of understanding and knowledge around open water safety. If you’re armed with the basics and know what hazards to be wary of, there is no reason why you cannot enjoy the open water whilst reducing significantly the number of incidents that happen year on year.

We don’t just mean the sea when we talk about open waters (although it’s the biggest expanse of open water you’ll find). We also mean lakes, rivers, canals, reservoirs and quarries. We know that not all of this applies here on the island, but what about when you’re not on the island (in the future)? Please read these open water safety tips to increase your knowledge and hazard awareness in general.

Be vigilant: Open water conditions change constantly. Be aware of what’s happening around you and always lookout for warning and/or guidance signage.

Stay close: If swimming, stay parallel with the shoreline and not away from it

Don’t drift: Avoid drifting in the currents and do not enter fast flowing water

Be careful: Be aware of potential underwater hazards

Don’t get cold: If you start to feel cold – get out of the water as soon as possible

No alcohol: Never enter the water after consuming alcohol

Keep company: Always take someone with you when you go into or near water. If something goes wrong they will be able to get help. You should only enter the water in areas with adequate supervision and rescue cover

Stay safe: Always wear a buoyancy aid or lifejacket for activities on the water or at the water’s edge (such as when boating or fishing)

Help others: If someone is in difficulty in the water, shout reassurance to them and shout for help and call the emergency services (call 999 or 112). Without endangering yourself, see if you can reach out to them with a stick, pole or item of clothing – lie down to ensure you stay secure. Alternatively throw something buoyant to them such as a ring buoy or anything that will float

#CommunitySpirit #StaySafe #WaterSafety #JerseyLifeboats