Swimming is great fun, but it is not always safe. Before taking a dip, make sure the area is safe for swimming. Above all, don’t swim at a marina or boatyard.
Hidden Dangers: Don’t Swim at a Marina
When taking a dip, it always pays to understand your surroundings. Unlike community pools or lifeguard-protected beaches, the marina is never safe for swimmers. Besides a lack of lifeguards and water safety experts nearby, there are many reasons people don’t swim at a marina.
Risk of Electric Shock
First and foremost, let’s talk about the dangers of electricity. Put simply, marinas are not designed for people to hop into the water. They are designed for boats and potentially hazardous electrical equipment. Often, wiring can fray or dip into the water.
Don’t swim at a marina, because all of these active electrical currents can often charge the water. If there is enough current passing through the water, you can be shocked or even drown. The safest bet is to stay out of the water entirely.
To learn more, read our focused blog post about electroshock drowning.
Getting Hit by a Boat
This next warning is fairly obvious, but still worth mentioning. Don’t swim at a marina or boatyard; otherwise, you might be struck by a boat! Now, no one wants to be injured by a speeding boat, but don’t forget about all of the propellers under the surface of the water. These spinning blades can be extremely dangerous for anyone caught near them. Instead, stay as far away from the water as possible.
For general boating safety, read our dedicated blog post.
Trapped and Tangled
Besides spinning blades and electricity, there is another hazard to look out for: entanglement. All of those boats in the marina mean that there may also be many cables and ropes under the water, out of sight. Additionally, some people fish at the marina, even though it is rarely allowed. This leads to a surprising amount of abandoned fishing lines and hooks. It is quite easy for even an experienced swimmer to become entangled and possibly drown.
Finally, there are plenty of mechanical features of a marina just below the surface. Jumping or stepping on any of these can cause injury to an unaware swimmer. The safest bet remains simply not to swim at the marina.
Breathing Carbon Monoxide
With all of these boats, there is another hidden danger for swimmers: breathing carbon monoxide. Just like with car engines, boat motors produce carbon monoxide. Now, if you’re in your boat, this is not really that urgent of a problem. After all, carbon monoxide usually sits roughly six inches above the water’s surface. However, if you are swimming, that’s a different story. Six inches above the water is right about where your head will be poking out. Exposure to carbon monoxide can be hazardous to your health.
If you are looking for a proper place to swim and don’t have access to a pool, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer a helpful state-by-state guide for healthy swimming.