Summertime not only brings sunshine and warm weather, but it also brings a multitude of exciting water activities with it. From swimming and kayaking to fishing and boating, there are plenty of reasons to hit the water this season. Even though you’re having fun soaking up the rays, don’t forget a few water safety tips to make your time more enjoyable and less likely to go south.
1. SAFETY KIT:
Summertime-fun rule number one is to always have a safety kit easily on hand for when minor incidents occur. You never know when you’ll need to dress a minor cut or deal with a bug sting. The American Red Cross recommends having the following in your kit:
- Absorbent compress dressings
- Adhesive bandages in assorted sizes
- Adhesive cloth tape
- Antibiotic ointment packets
- Antiseptic wipe packets
- Blanket (space blanket)
- Breathing barrier (with one-way valve)
- Instant cold compress
- Non-latex gloves
- Hydrocortisone ointment packets
- Roller bandage
- Sterile gauze pads
- Oral thermometer (non-mercury/nonglass)
- Triangular bandages
- First aid instruction booklet
As part of your kit, it’s also a great idea to carry a map or GPS system with you. It is possible to get lost or turned around when boating across Rice Lake’s 859 acres, especially if the lake is new to you. Finally, if anyone has sever allergies, be sure to have their emergency medication, like an epi-pen, on hand.
2. SUN PROTECTION:
Having and wearing proper sun protection can not only save you from a bad sunburn, but it can also save you down the road from more serious conditions like cancer. Be sure to pack protective clothing, like a hat, or slather on the high SPF sunblock. Be sure to wear sunglasses to protect your eyes as well. Remember, just because it’s cloudy doesn’t mean you can’t get burnt. The UV rays of the sun can pass through clouds.
3. LIFE JACKETS:
Wisconsin boating laws require all children under the age of 13 to wear life jackets. Additionally, life jackets must be present and easily accessible for each person on board the boat. When swimming or playing along the lakeshore it’s a great idea to keep young children in life jackets as well. Remember, it only takes a second for them to accidentally fall off a dock. It’s best to be prepared and play it safe. Teach your children how to swim and about water safety from a young age.
How to choose a life jacket-
Make sure it’s U.S. Coast Guard approved (look for the stamp on the jacket)
Make sure it’s the right type for your intended activity
Make sure it’s the correct size for its wearer
Check the buckles and straps for proper function
4. PROPER CLOTHING:
While we all hope for nice days but sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate. We recommend dressing in layers so that you’re prepared for a range of temperatures while out on the lake. Rain gear is also a great option to have on hand in case the weather turns wet. Please use common sense if a bad storm blows in and get off the water as soon as possible. Proper foot gear is also something to consider. Wear appropriate shoes or boots for your activity to avoid sprained ankles or accidentally stepping on sharp objects such as hooks.
5. PROPERLY STORE SHARP OBJECTS:
When there’s a fish on you don’t want to be tripping over knives or open containers of hooks that have been left out. Be sure to properly store these sharp objects to prevent accidental injury. A good tackle box is your best friend here. Many come with divided containers and shelving areas, perfect for sorting all your tackle and storing your knives and pliers.
When swimming in a lake always be aware of current water conditions including underwater hazards. It is recommended that you swim in designated areas that are supervised by lifeguards. And of course remember the buddy rule -never swim alone. Finally, avoid swimming after consuming alcohol. Alcohol impairs judgement, balance, and coordination, which affects your ability to swim. This rule also applies to boating. Please make smart and safe decisions!
Now that you’re prepared, it’s time to plan your perfect family vacation to Rice Lake. We can’t wait to see you around!