Know when you’ve had enough
By Lori Mork
Here in the lakes area, a big part of our summer revolves around our many lakes – fishing, water-skiing and swimming. But to enjoy the outdoors and water, it’s smart to know how to stay safe.
Here are a few tips, along with your common sense, that will make these summer days by the lake the best they can be.
Learn to swim. It’s very important that you’re a strong swimmer if you enjoy water activities.
Take a friend along. The buddy system is a great way to stay safe, even if you are a good swimmer. You never know when you might need help, and having friends around makes it more fun.
Know your limits. Too tired, too cold, too far from shore, too much sun, too much hard activity – watch out for all these “toos.”
Swim in supervised (watched) areas only, and follow all signs and warnings.
Wear a life jacket when boating, jet-skiing, water-skiing, rafting or fishing.
Keep an eye on the weather. If you spot bad weather (dark clouds, lightning), pack up and take the fun inside.
Don’t mess around in the water. When having fun in the water, it’s easy to get carried away pushing or dunking your friends.
Don’t dive into shallow water. If you don’t know how deep the water is, don’t dive.
Don’t float where you can’t swim. Make sure to continually check the water depth and the distance from shore.
Watch out for Mother Nature. No matter how good a swimmer you are, there are always things you can’t control that can put you in danger.
Stay away from water plants and animals in the water, and if you unexpectedly come across one, go the other way.
Most importantly, stay safe from the sun with sunscreen. Burning rays reflect off sand and water much more than you might realize, so keep your sunscreen handy.
SUNBURNS ARE SERIOUS
It only takes a few serious sunburns to increase the chance of skin cancer, so make sure to protect yourself and your loved ones.
Seek shade. At midday, the UV rays are the most harmful, so find an indoor activity at that time. Otherwise, look for shade under a tree, umbrella or a tent.
Cover up. Wear protective clothing when possible, including long-sleeved shirts and long pants to protect from UV rays.
Get a hat. Wear a hat that shades the face, scalp, ears and neck for extra protection. If you wear a baseball cap, be sure to protect exposed areas with sunscreen.
Wear sunglasses. Sunglasses provide protection for eyes from UV rays that can lead to cataracts later in life. Check to make sure the sunglasses you choose block as close to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB rays as possible.
Apply sunscreen. A minimum of SPF 15 with UVA and UVB protection is important in sunscreen. Apply 30 minutes before heading outdoors for best protection and don’t forget ears, noses, lips and the tops of feet.