Rivers and creeks provide great family-friendly places to escape on hot days. Whether you are enjoying a day out on the boat, kayaking, rafting or tubing for a fun thrill, or just enjoying the Vitamin D on the bank, keeping in mind some safety tips can help prevent your day in the sun from becoming NO fun!

Be Aware of the Temperature

If you are out boating, be sure to check the weather forecast before you go. Look out for bad weather, such as rain or wind, and avoid going out on the river on those days. You should also watch the heat index. With a lack of shade on most boats, escaping the sun is not an option. Be on the lookout for any signs of heat exhaustion that may come with extended hours in the sun. Be Aware of the Water – Like the above tip, you should always check the temperature before you go out on the river. During the spring months, although the weather may be nice, the temperature below the surface of the water can greatly differ. Cold water can quickly become dangerous if hypothermia sets in.

Check the Current

You should be familiar with the place you swim or choose to anchor your boat. Be aware of any currents or rapids in the area, as these can easily become hazardous, especially to inexperienced swimmers or young children. Do not try to cross or enter fast-moving water without the proper vessel and experience.

Know water laws

Keep an eye out for changes in water laws and recommendations in your area. In some states boating safety certificates are necessary so check out your area’s requirements to be up to date on boating safety procedures. Boating safety courses are offered through the Coast Guard Auxiliary and state boating agencies for individuals of all ages looking to learn more about boating safety. Keep a lookout – If you are participating in water sports, make sure there is at least one other person on the boat with the driver that is designated to keep watch on the person in the water should they fall or get hurt.

Wear a Life Jacket

You should always wear a life jacket when you are out on the river. Most states have laws that every person must have a life jacket on board a boat, and all children under the age of 13 have to be wearing a life jacket while the boat is in motion. Even when the boat is anchored, or while swimming, inexperienced swimmers should always have a life jacket or flotation device with them at all times. Suit up – Be sure to bring any safety equipment necessary. In addition to a life jacket, bring along any items like helmets, gloves, ropes, ties, or flotation devices needed for water sports. Inspect all equipment BEFORE you put it on the boat, and again before use to look for any breaks, frays, or cracks.

Watch Your Step

Especially around the banks of the river, or in shallow areas water along the river bed there can be sharp objects like broken glass, sharp rocks, or old fishing hooks. Do not walk barefoot along these areas, and if possible, wear waterproof shoes. You should always have a first aid kit on hand in case of cuts, scrapes, or punctures.

So get out there, the river is waiting! – Just be sure to keep these safety precautions in mind!

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