Drowning Prevention: Water Safety Tips for All Ages

The height of summer may be behind us, but Labor Day Weekend remains a big weekend for swimming and boating.

During the long weekend many South Shore residents will head to beaches, pools, or boats to soak in one last bit of summer fun before the school year is in full swing.

After all, sweaters and raking leaves will soon replace bathing suits and beach days.

If you’re planning to hit the water as summer winds down, it’s important to take the appropriate safety steps to prevent drowning.

Unfortunately, drowning rates were unusually high across the nation during the 2021 summer season – even tripling in some states.

In response to an increase in drownings in Massachusetts, the Commonwealth launched a new program this year, Swim Safe Massachusetts.

This program prioritizes water safety across the state, promising:

  • Increased availability of swimming lessons
  • Increased safety resources at pools and beaches
  • Placement of life rings at guarded and unguarded waterfronts

As the South Shore Health Trauma Program Injury Prevention Team has stressed over the course of the summer, drowning is 100% preventable – but proper safety measures require layers of protection.

Summer may be coming to an end, but water safety is a year-round concept.

We encourage you to review the safety measures below before enjoying another summer swim or boat ride.

Boating safety tips

In 2019, approximately 86 percent of people who drowned while boating in the United States were not wearing a lifejacket.

All children and adults should wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket while boating – even advanced swimmers!

Prior to heading out on a boat, be sure to check the weather forecast and share your plan for the day with someone you know.

Review all boating safety tips.

Pool safety tips

Constant supervision for all children is critical. Appropriate barriers, like gates and fences, are crucial as well.

Designate water watchers and remember that children often drown when no one expects them to be near the water – a child who weighs less than 30 pounds can drown in just 30 seconds.

Review all pool safety tips for children.

Water safety tips for teenagers

Most teenagers love beaches and pools, but many engage in risky behavior which can be a recipe for tragedy.

All teenagers (and their parents) should keep the following tips in mind:

  • Never swim alone. Always buddy up.
  • Know your swim limits – don’t try to show off by overdoing it!
  • Don’t rely on a flotation device if you can’t swim – even shallow water can be dangerous.
  • Never drink alcohol before or while swimming.
  • Keep a cell phone nearby in case you need to call for help.

Review all water safety tips for teenagers.

In addition to the water safety tips above, we encourage all South Shore residents to sign up for a CPR class – remember, CPR saves lives.

The American Red Cross offers classes across the region, meaning you can find a class near you.

Drowning is 100% preventable if the proper safety measures are taken.

By taking a few minutes to prepare and familiarize yourself with basic water safety measures, you can focus on enjoying your swims and boat trips.

This post was written by South Shore Health's Trauma Program Injury Prevention Team.

Learn more about our Injury Prevention Program.