If you’ve had swimming lessons with us at Dolphin Academy you’ll know we’re pretty big on water safety. Our classes are extremely safe with qualified lifeguards, experienced swim instructors and an emphasis on safety.
But, let’s be frank, one day you or your loved one might be beside a river, on a ship or in a natural disaster and must swim to survive. We strongly hope not, but it’s a risk. Every year, globally, thousands of people drown or must be rescued because they don’t know how to swim or simply don’t recognise the danger they might be in without a trained lifeguard nearby.
So, in the hope of helping everyone and preventing some tragedies, here’s five of our water safety tips and they don’t just focus on your ability to swim!
Think about the temperature of the water
Even if you can swim just diving into the water isn’t a good idea. If you’ve got time, you should always check the temperature of the water you’re diving into. Very cold water will do three nasty things to your body: first, it will sap your energy as your body tries to warm itself up; second, it might send you into shock if it’s very cold and there’s a big difference between the air temperature and the water temperature; and, third it will feel very uncomfortable, might cause you to panic, and can put you in new danger.
Whether you’re just swimming in nature on holiday or you’re in a crisis, jumping unprepared into very cold water is not a good idea.
Look out for each other
Water safety isn’t just about your skills as a swimmer, like with the temperature above it involves a recognition of the water environment. When you’re swimming, other things can happen not related to the water or your ability to swim. Someone might have a heart attack, they might feel faint or sick. It’s important when you’re swimming with others to look out for them so you can call for help or help them out the pool if it’s safe.
Stay Hydrated (…the right kind of hydrated!)
It might seem kind of weird to be told to stay hydrated when you’re surrounded by water but here we go; it isn’t. Your body has the same pressures from water-based exercise as it does from non-water-based exercise (although, you will be slightly cooler, and it’s got some great benefits!). If you’re dehydrated you increase your risk of feeling faint or weak, injuring yourself and just generally lower your performance. Similarly, avoid alcohol and other intoxicating substances if you’re swimming; we don’t need to tell you that swimming under the influence is not a good idea.
Follow the rules
If you’re one of those people who think rules are made to be broken think again. The reason those red flags exist isn’t to ruin your day, it’s because the sea is genuinely dangerous when the red flags are up. Similarly, at the pool, there are rules about not diving in at the shallow end, not running at the poolside, listening to the lifeguard’s instructions and so on. The rules have been created because one day something bad did happen – people dive into shallow water and injure themselves because they don’t pay attention to the signs.
Learn to Swim and maintain water confidence
Learning to swim is a great safety tip because if you don’t know how to swim and you do find yourself in deep water… well it would be very bad! It’s never too late to learn. At Dolphin Academy, and of course our partners at Our First Steps, we don’t care if you’re 6 months old or 6 decades old; we’ll get you swimming. We also know there are lots of reasons people haven’t learnt to swim and we’ve got lots of experience teaching adult learners in groups and in private.
Once you do know how to swim you must maintain that skill and your confidence in the water. Why? Well, two things could happen: first, you could remember that you swim well when it’s not so good anymore and get stuck from overconfidence; second, you could think you swim badly and hesitate when you need to be decisive.