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Wednesday, June 12, 2019
7 River Safety Tips
Hot weather has returned to Columbus and its bringing people down to the Chattahoochee River. Many Columbus residents spend weekday afternoons and weekends on the river to cool off and to have fun outdoors. Unfortunately, few people realize the dangers associated with swimming and other water sports such as kayaking and rafting.river safety We’ve provided a few tips below on how to stay safe in the river.

Here are seven tips for keeping safe while out on the river:

1.  Know the water temperature
Cold water can be hazardous. While it may be hot outside, water below the surface may be colder than the temperature outside. Keep the water temperature in mind, as the National Center for Cold Water Safety reports that hypothermia can set in quickly.

2.  Wear a life jacket
Inexperienced swimmers and small children should always wear life jackets around water. Experienced swimmers should also consider wearing life jackets when swimming in rivers as currents may be stronger than expected. According to Royal Life Saving, an average of 11 drownings take place every year during water-related activities in creeks and streams.

3.  Never swim alone
Swimming should always happen when a lifeguard is present in groups. Both the YMCA and Respect the River recommend swimming in groups or with a lifeguard present. Further notifying others that aren't with you of your swimming plans may also help to raise the alarm in the case of an emergency.

4.  Stay energized
Be sure to take snack breaks and stay hydrated while you’re actively swimming or rafting on the river. This way, you stay energized and alert and able to respond to any potential emergencies. 

5.  Know your limits
Be familiar with your limits. Swimming in a pool is different than swimming in open water. There may be fast currents or temperature changes in the water to account for. If you do not know your limits, think about starting slow and staying close to the shoreline.

6.  Wear protective equipment
When swimming, rafting or kayaking, wear protective equipment. Raft Masters recommends always wearing a helmet and life jacket when rafting. Life jackets are also recommended when swimming and kayaking as well.

7.  Avoid alcohol and drugs
Stay sober. When swimming or playing in open water, you'll need a clear head to respond to changes in the environment adequately. Alcohol dulls your senses and slows your reaction time, making it difficult to react to changes in the environment.

Now that you know more about staying safe around water; use these tips, and have a great summer!

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