Water Sports Safety Tips That Make a Splash

As summer brings high temperatures and sunny skies, many water sports enthusiasts are enjoying adventures on the water. While water activities are great fun, it’s essential to follow water safety rules and understand the potential risks to your health.

From surfing and snorkeling to kayaking and boating, water activities abound in Florida. After providing high-quality healthcare in Florida for over 15 years, MD Now has seen its fair share of water sports injuries. Even swimming in your backyard pool can land you in an urgent care clinic if you don’t take the appropriate water sports precautions.

MD Now is here to help you stay safe and healthy this summer by providing a list of water safety tips that are easy to follow. Let’s dive in!

Proper Training and Knowledge Come First

All water activities require safety precautions, so it’s essential that you receive proper training and/or instruction before attempting any type of water sport – and never enter the water at all until you know how to swim. Learning how to perform CPR and completing a water safety course can also help you protect yourself and others.

It’s equally important to know your personal limits. For instance, swimming in the ocean is a very different (and more dangerous) environment than a pool, especially if you cannot handle strong currents. Take time to review water safety rules for the ocean (including how to escape currents), and only swim in areas where a lifeguard is present.

No one wants an injury to ruin a fun-filled day on the water, but MD Now makes it easy to seek medical attention when you need it. You can use the convenient Web Check-In® feature, wait anywhere and receive a text when it’s time for your visit, or you can also walk into any of our state-of-the-art clinics to receive prompt treatment from MD Now’s licensed and certified healthcare professionals.

Use Appropriate Equipment and Safety Gear

One of the most crucial water sports precautions involves wearing a life jacket. But not just any life jacket – all children and adults, especially inexperienced swimmers and boaters, should wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets. Avoid using air-filled floatation aids (such as water wings), which can deflate if they become punctured or unplugged.

Other water activities may require helmets, goggles, masks, wetsuits, footwear, and other protective gear. Always use the appropriate equipment and safety gear for your water sport of choice.

Follow Rules and Regulations

Water safety rules exist for one reason: to keep you safe. Respect and follow any signage, flags, or instructions provided by lifeguards or water sports instructors, and only swim in designated areas.

Children require extra caution. Teach your children to always ask for permission to go near water. Even when lifeguards are present, you should pay close attention to your children at all times.

Stay Healthy While Swimming

Most people associate the dangers of swimming with drowning – and for good reason. Drowning is the leading cause of death for young children from 1-4 years of age and the second-leading cause of death from 5-24 years of age. However, drowning is not the only way that swimming can be hazardous to your health.

Urine, feces, sweat, dirt, skin cells, and other things that come out of (or wash off of) your fellow swimmers can all contaminate a pool, even one that’s chlorinated. You can easily get swimming-related illnesses when you swallow or come in contact with germ-infected water.

Common symptoms of swimming-related illnesses include:

To prevent swimming-related illnesses, do not swim if you have been sick for the past two weeks. Be sure to keep water out of your mouth when you swim, and dry your ears thoroughly after exiting the pool.

Watch for Potential Water Sport Injuries

Before you participate in any water sport, you should know what type of injuries it can cause. For example:

  • Water-skiing: Because your feet are bound to the skis, most water-skiing injuries are ankle-related. Due to the high speed involved, cuts, lacerations, bruises, and concussions are also common.
  • Surfing: Losing your balance and hitting the water (or your surfboard) can cause head or face lacerations, eye injuries, shoulder dislocations, concussions, and more.
  • Kayaking, canoeing, or rafting: Capsizing or hitting a rock at high speed could leave you with cuts, bruises, or a neck or head injury.

Keep a Close Eye on Weather Conditions

Weather also makes the list of water safety tips – especially here in Florida, where the sky can change in an instant. Stay mindful of your surroundings and weather conditions before and during any water activities.

Check the weather forecast and be prepared for any unexpected changes. You should also understand water currents and be aware of potential hazards, such as rocks or shallow areas, in the area you are using.

Stay Hydrated

Just because you’re on or in the water doesn’t mean that you’re getting enough water to avoid dehydration. Dark-colored urine, muscle cramps, rapid breathing, and feeling lightheaded are all signs that you need to drink more water. Take a drink break every 30 minutes to keep your body replenished.

If possible, schedule your water activities during cooler parts of the day to reduce the risk of heat-related illnesses. Avoid pushing yourself beyond your abilities, and rest whenever you are fatigued, uncomfortable, or in pain.

When Water Sports Go Wrong, Visit MD Now

Even with the right water sports precautions, accidents still happen. Your local MD Now urgent care can provide evaluation, treatment, and relief for cuts, scrapes, abrasions, burns, sprains, broken bones, dislocations, wound care, and much more. Walk in or use Web Check-In® to make an appointment today, so you can get back to making a splash this summer.

About MD Now® Urgent Care

MD Now urgent care is Florida’s largest urgent care operator with more than 110 state-of-the-art clinics conveniently located across Broward, Duval, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Martin, Miami-Dade, Orange, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Saint Lucie, Sarasota, and Seminole Counties. MD Now urgent care’s physician-led team of healthcare professionals provides high-quality healthcare through a comprehensive lineup of urgent care and occupational health services during convenient hours. MD Now urgent care is proud to be affiliated with HCA Florida Healthcare. For more information, visit www.MDNOW.com.