With so much water access, it’s important for Severna Park residents to have some quick water safety tips in their pockets heading into summer.
“The more we can educate people and get information to people, the more water-safe our community will be,” said Shelly Beigel, director of programs and partnerships at the Severna Park Community Center.
Beigel offered a few tips and resources to keep in mind this summer:
- Get lessons. If you’re a non-swimmer, learning how to swim is essential to water safety. Drowning ranks as one of the leading causes of death in the United States, especially in children ages 14 or younger.
- Always have water safety equipment on-site. Whether you’re on a boat, hanging out at the pool or swimming in one of the local waterways, make sure you have the necessary items on hand in case of an emergency. Beigel suggested personal floatation devices, Shepherd's Crook sticks and ring buoys.
- Check the forecast. You don’t want to get caught out on the open water in a thunder and lightning storm. Make sure to check the forecast for inclement weather before heading out.
- Read up on boat safety. Anyone looking to spend time on a boat this summer should make sure they’re practicing safe boating. Boating safety comes in a variety of forms, and Beigel suggested the Coast Guard Auxiliary as a reference for free programs and youth activity books to help children learn the rules.
- Swim with a lifeguard. Whether you’re in a pool or out on the open water, it’s best to swim where a lifeguard can see you. Accidents happen. If you get caught in a rip tide, make sure to swim with the current until you can safely get out of it.
For those looking for a comprehensive water safety course, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources is hosting one of its Water Wise programs at the community center on Sunday, June 9, from 1:00pm-3:00pm.
The course features rotations stations to help participants learn essential skills and identify dangers. It costs $5 per person or $15 for families of three or more people.
“Being water conscious and water safety conscious is important,” Beigel said. “Whether that means you’re taking a Red Cross safety course or your local state water safety course, that’s important. That’s going to cover everything as far as getting educated.”