Swimming in a lake during these upcoming summer days can be a great way for you and your family to enjoy some time together. It’s important to keep in mind that swimming in a lake can also be dangerous if you aren’t careful.

Luckily, most lake hazards are preventable. With a few precautions, you can avoid an accident and still have a great time. Here are several steps you can take to protect yourself while swimming in a lake:

Never Swim Alone

Many people remember the buddy system from when they were children at summer camp. The idea is that each child is paired up with a “buddy” who they are responsible for checking in on during the swim session. This is a great safety technique that helps kids to be accountable for their actions.  The same principle can be implemented among adults as well. Never swim alone. This way, if you or someone else is in trouble, there will always be help nearby.

Use a Life Jacket

Life jackets aren’t only for inexperienced swimmers. For instance, you’ll be glad you have one if you get tired or injured while in the water.  A life jacket will keep you afloat until help is available.  Whether you are a newbie testing out the waters or you’re a pro taking a swim, life jackets can save your life. Just make sure it’s U.S. Coast Guard approved!

Beware of Bacteria

It’s a fact that lakes contain bacteria that can cause illness.  This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should avoid swimming in fresh water, but it does mean that you need to take steps to stay healthy. The best way to keep that bacterium from causing havoc on your body is to keep it out of your body in the first place.

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First and foremost, avoid swallowing large amounts of the water while swimming in a lake.  You can also prevent these nasty microbes from getting into your nasal cavity by using nose plugs, or by holding your nose.

Last, don’t go swimming if you have any open wounds. This even includes that unfortunate shaving mishap. Alternately, if you got any wounds while swimming, like cutting yourself on a rock, immediately clean and treat the injury.

Check the Weather

Make sure you check the forecast before you go swimming in a lake or any open water.  If a storm is looming, things can get dangerous pretty quickly. When lightning strikes water, the water conducts electricity and can cause a serious injury. In case of a thunderstorm, seek shelter indoors and don’t approach the water again until thirty minutes after the last thunder is heard.


Additional Tips for Swimming in a Lake:

  • Don’t jump into unfamiliar waters. Sharp rocks, shallow water or debris may be lingering just under the surface.
  • Becoming trained in CPR can help you to safe a life!
  • Wear bright colors and encourage others to do the same. Should someone be in trouble, these colors will be easier to spot.
  • Obey the rules. Most beaches, public lakes and pools display recommendations for swimming safety conditions. Be on the lookout for colored flags that designate whether the water is safe to enter.