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Wednesday, July 22, 2020
River Safety Tips 2020
riverwalkHot weather has reared its head in Columbus and people are finding relief in the Chattahoochee River. Many Columbus residents spend weekday afternoons and weekends on the river to cool off and to have fun outdoors. It is imperative to remember to take precautions when swimming and participating in water sports while in the Chattahoochee River. Below are a few tips on how to stay safe in 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. Even the most experienced swimmers should wear life jackets when swimming in the Chattahoochee River as currents may be stronger than expected. According to the CDC there are on average 10 deaths per day due to unintentional drowning. 
  3. Never swim alone: Swimming should always happen when a lifeguard is present. The YMCA recommends swimming in groups for safety. Be sure to let other people know when you will be swimming and where you will be swimming in case of an emergency. 
  4. Stay energized: Take snack breaks and stay hydrated while you’re actively swimming or rafting on the river. Staying hydrated can help you stay energized, alert, and able to respond to any potential emergencies.  
  5. Know your limits: Be familiar with your limits. Swimming in open water or the river is not the time to take risks. 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. There are hidden surfaces and rocks in the river and protective equipment is necessary for safety in case of an emergency. 
  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.

While you are cooling down from the heat, please use these safety tips when around the water!

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