As the last round of Spring Breakers prepare to head out to their various destinations, it is a good time to remind warm-weather revelers of safety guidelines while in and on the water. Keep those you care about safe by reviewing and discussing the following precautions.
· NEVER COMBINE ALCOHOL AND WATER ACTIVITIES. This is a dangerous combination, no matter what the scenario. Boat owners need to be sober to properly operate their vehicles. Swimmers and boat passengers need to remain sober in order to think and react clearly and quickly, should something unexpected happen in the water. If you must include alcohol during your celebrations and gatherings, do so on dry land and well away from boats or water.
· GET ENOUGH SLEEP. Spring Break often teases participants with all-night bashes. Resist the temptation and get at least seven hours of sleep per night. Lack of sleep can increase your risk factors when participating in water and boating activities.
· OPT TO RECEIVE PROFESSIONAL INSTRUCTION FOR SKILLED WATER ACTIVITIES. Opportunities abound for the water adventurer: scuba diving, surfing, sailboarding, jetskiing, water skiing, and more. When participating in these sports, pay the extra few dollars for some private or group instruction from a professional. $20-$50 could make the difference between an enjoyable afternoon on the water, or one spent in the local emergency room!
· AVOID ILLEGAL DRUGS. Choosing not to partake of illegal drugs is always a good idea, but when around water, it is an even better idea. Like alcohol, illegal drugs can impair your judgment or slow down your reaction time. Be at your peak when on or near the water!
· KNOW YOUR PRESCRIPTION DRUGS. If anything the doctor has prescribed for you can cause drowsiness, headaches, nausea, or other side effects, use extra caution when participating in water activities.
· WATCH THE LOCAL WEATHER FORECAST. Coastal areas are known for quick weather changes. Become familiar with the local weather trends of your Spring Break destination and watch for the weather report every morning. Plan your activities accordingly.
· TAKE YOUR OWN U. S. COASTGUARD APPROVED LIFE JACKET ON ANY BOATING TRIP. If you get on a boat, whether to fish, see the sea life, or go diving, taking your own USCG approved life jacket ensures your safety. Be responsible for your own safety!
· PARTICIPATE IN WATER SPORTS WITH A BUDDY. There are numerous tales about someone going out on a chartered boat and never coming back. Don’t be the next one! Always take a companion with you when you are swimming, boating, or participating in any other water sport. As an added precaution, tell someone on land when you expect to return and call if plans should change.
· BE PREPARED FOR THE SUN. Often, young people feel as though they will be fine on the water without sunscreen to protect their skin. On the water, your chance for burns will increase, and your ability to feel how much sun you are getting will be diminished by the coolness of the water. ALWAYS wear sunscreen with SPF15 protection or higher. You don’t want to end up spending your Spring Break in the hotel room with severe sunburn!
· ENJOY YOURSELF! Water activities can be great fun. Just be aware of the dangers, make wise decisions, and take responsibility for your own safety. You may be confident of your abilities on the water, but anything can happen. Be prepared!
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