Water safety tips for the Fourth of July weekend

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NEW YORK — Whether you’re making a splash at the beach or in the pool this Fourth of July weekend, staying safe should be a top priority.

These safety tips can help you and your loved ones stay safe in the water, courtesy of the NYC Parks Department:

  • Learn how to swim: Knowing how to swim is the best way to stay safe in the water. Sign up for free swimming lessons through the Parks Department.
  • Always swim with a buddy.
  • Obey all rules posted at the beach or pool.
  • Set rules for the whole family: Depending on everyone’s swimming abilities, set different rules to keep them safe. For example, inexperienced swimmers should stay in water that is less than chest deep.
  • Know the area: Be aware of potential hazards wherever you are swimming, such as deep and shallow areas, currents, obstructions and entry and exit points from the water.
  • Check the weather: If bad weather is approaching, stop swimming.
  • Look for a lifeguard and swim near them.
  • Children and inexperienced swimmers should wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved floatation devices when near or in the water.
  • Enter the water feet-first.
  • Only enter the water head-first when an area is clearly marked for diving and there are no obstructions.
  • If caught in a rip current, take these steps provided by the NOAA: stay calm and float; swim parallel to the shore as opposed to swimming against the current; and swim with the waves and let them pull you safely to shore. If you can, wave your arms and yell to let people on the beach know you need help.
  • If you see someone stuck in a rip current, throw them a flotation device and call for help. Do not attempt to rescue them on your own.
  • Watch out for what the Parks Department calls the dangerous “too’s”: too tired, too cold, too far from safety, too much sun, too much strenuous activity.
  • Do not consume alcoholic beverages before swimming, diving or boating.

Here are more pool-specific tips:

  • Don’t leave children unattended around water. Adult supervision at all times is recommended.
  • Have a phone nearby to call 911 in case of emergency.
  • Learn CPR: The Parks Department offers free CPR classes.
  • Always have basic life-saving equipment near the pool: A pole, rope and flotation devices are recommended.
  • Pool covers should be completely removed prior to anyone entering the pool.

Keep these tips in mind as you enjoy the water this Fourth of July weekend.