Enjoying the water safely this festive season

Around the festive season Cayman’s waters tend to be busier than ever as locals and visitors alike enjoy the beaches and ocean, whether swimming, snorkelling or boating. Yet with so many people out on or in the water, it means that the chances of an unsafe encounter are greatly increased.

One of the best ways to prevent accidents on the water is to stick to areas designated for specific activities. Swim in areas designated for swimming; operate powered watercraft in areas designated for that. The two do not mix well.

For anyone using the water, being visible to other water users is also very important, especially in busy areas such as along Seven Mile Beach, where snorkelers often stray relatively far from the beach and into areas frequented by personal watercraft.

Although the festive season is a time when a drink or two might not be out of order, drinking and watersports can be a very dangerous mix indeed, and should rather be avoided.

For those who do not get out on the water often, it is also very important to check all safety equipment on boats, as well as the condition of the boat itself to ensure that no problems arise once out on the water.

Lifejackets for all the passengers on the boat is a must, as is the ability to communicate with the shore. Remember that depending on where you are you may not have mobile phone reception.
Whenever you are heading out on the water, whether on a boat or a kayak, let someone know where you are going and when they can expect you back. Should something go wrong, at least they will be able to report you missing and get a search under way.

It is always best to not go out alone – on a dive a dive buddy is a must, but it is also best to have someone with you when snorkelling or even kayaking.

Of course, water safety is not only important in the ocean, but also around the pool. Always make sure that young children are supervised by an adult while around the pool, and be certain that the supervising adult is a capable swimmer.

Children who cannot swim yet should preferably be fitted with water safety gear before they are allowed in the pool. Wherever possible, also restrict access to the pool area so that children cannot gain access on their own.
Most importantly, be sensible out there this festive season. WH

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