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Summer Water Safety and Drowning Prevention

Every summer, the Seattle Fire Department responds to preventable drownings. According to Public Health – Seattle & King County, 16 people died in preventable drownings in 2018. Many more near drownings go unreported.

If you plan to be in or near water this summer, follow these recommendations:

Know the risks — Washington waters are often cold enough to cause muscles to not work, even on the hottest summer day. Cold water can weaken even the strongest swimmer. 

Learn to swim, including water safety and survival skills — To enjoy the water safely, learn swim strokes, water safety, survival skills, and becoming comfortable in the water.

Wear a lifejacket — Always wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved lifejacket when boating, tubing, rafting, swimming or other activities in or on lakes, rivers, salt water, or pools without a lifeguard.

Swim where there is a lifeguard — Swim in areas with lifeguards when possible. Wear a lifejacket while swimming in unguarded waters or until the guards start their service.

Supervise children in or near water — Always provide close and constant attention to children you are supervising in or near water. Stay within touching distance of young children at all times.

Do not use alcohol or drugs during water activities — Never use alcohol or other impairing drugs during water and boating activities or while supervising children around the water. Alcohol affects balance, coordination, and judgement. Exposure to sun and heat worsen these effects.

Learn first aid and CPR — Learn first aid and CPR. Seconds count—the more quickly lifesaving CPR is started, the better the chances of recovery. Dial 911 in an emergency.

Water Safety – King County

Drowning Prevention and Water Safety – Seattle Children’s