It’s Fishing & Boating Week: June 1st-9th.

By: PaKou Lee, Red Cross Volunteer

It’s that time of the year to pack your tackle box with the best lures and hooks. Bring your fishing pole and roll out the boat because it’s a week of celebrating fishing and boating. Don’t forget the sunscreen and safety rules!

It’s always an exciting adventure when it comes to fishing and boating. It brings families together and there’s happiness all around. People are soaking up the sun with their loved ones and enjoying their time off work.

One summer that I will never forget is the summer of 2002. I was 13 years old. A family friend named Mary took my brother, niece, two cousins, and me to Lake Mille Lac, MN. Lake Mille Lac is a popular tourism for family vacations. There are plenty of activities to choose from: shopping, fishing, camping, hiking, and more. It was about a 2-hour drive up north from my home in St. Paul. Mary’s family had cabins by the shore and was big into water skiing and tubing.

The first thing we all did when we arrived was swim. The weather was extremely hot, we jumped right into the lake to cool off. Of course, Mary always made sure we had tons of sunscreen on. My niece, Amy, and I also fed leftover bread to the fish on the dock while my brother, Tee, and cousins, Fong and Dennis, fished for them.

The adults brought out the boat, skis, and water tubes. I watched Fong and Dennis struggle with the skis; it was their first time. They went into the water before they even got the chance to stand up. I was too afraid to try so I took the easy route: water tubing. All I had to do was lay on the water tube and hold on tight, that I was able to do.

Amy and I rode on one water tube together. We didn’t know what to expect, as it was our first time water tubing. We were so nervous that we squealed when the boat started to go. The speed increased and my adrenaline rush was filled with fear and exhilaration. I squinted most of the time because of the intense wind and pressure.  As the boat took a turn and slowed down, Amy and I let go and went flying in the air. It was quite amazing being in the air, but it quickly ended when we landed in the water. I landed pretty hard. What felt like 6-ft. deep, I was probably 3-ft. under the water. I was so scared I wasn’t going to reach the surface in time to get air. Of course, I had my life jacket on so I floated up fine. It was so much fun, Amy and I did it again one more time before we left for home.

SAMSUNG

Amy (L) and me (R) water tubing.

Fortunately, it was a great summer with no accidents for us.  We wore life jackets to keep us safe, wore sunscreen to protect our skin, and stayed close to shore when swimming near by.

Here are some water safety tips to keep in mind when out celebrating this week:

Families Planning Water Activities this Summer, but Two in Ten Lack Good Swimming Skills

New American Red Cross survey reinforces need for water safety as nearly 80 percent of Americans plan to engage in water-related activities this summer.

Two in ten people planning to swim, boat or fish this summer cannot swim well, according to a new national survey by the American Red Cross.

Nearly 8 in 10 households (78 percent) are planning at least one water-related recreational activity this summer such as swimming, boating and fishing. However, 21 percent described their swimming skills as fair, poor or nonexistent – including three percent unable to swim at all, the Red Cross survey found.

“Learning how to swim and maintaining constant supervision of those in or near the water are crucial elements of water safety,” said Dr. Peter Wernicki, chair, Aquatics Subcommittee of the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council. “This Memorial Day, as we head into the summer season, we urge families to make water safety a priority.”

Sadly, each year drownings occur, yet many could have been prevented:

  • One-third of the survey respondents (32 percent) mistakenly believe that having a small child wear a flotation device is safer than providing arm’s-reach supervision.
  • One in five (18 percent) of adults are unsure what to do if they are caught in a strong current.
  • Nearly two in five (38 percent) recalled an experience in which someone in deep water needed help.

The Red Cross recommends designating at least one adult to solely be responsible for watching those in and around the water – even if a lifeguard is present. Adults should be in the water with inexperienced swimmers and remain within arm’s reach of them.

This “arm’s-reach supervision” is safer than putting water wings or floaties on a small child, as these items are not designed to keep a child’s face out of the water and can leak, slip off and provide a false sense of security.

Children should not go near or enter the water without the permission and supervision of an adult. Those who own a home pool should secure it with appropriate barriers and install pool and gate alarms.

If caught in a rip current, people should swim parallel to shore until they are out of the current and they can safely make it to shore. However, 32 percent said they weren’t confident that they could actually do it.

Most adults – 80 percent – knew that throwing a rope or something that floats would be the best way to help someone struggling in deep water rather than going in after them.

Red Cross Aquatics Training

The Red Cross has been a leader in aquatics training for more than 95 years and has developed a comprehensive program starting with Parent and Child Aquatics (6 months to about 5 years old) through lessons for adults. Participants learn swimming skills with a strong emphasis on drowning prevention and water safety.

Water safety tips and information can be found on redcross.org, and people can contact their local Red Cross to find out where Learn-to-Swim programs are offered.

For those who own pools and hot tubs, the Red Cross has a Home Pool Essentials™: Maintenance and Safety online safety course that teaches the fundamentals of creating and maintaining a safe environment.

The Red Cross is also part of the planned 2011 World’s Largest Swimming Lesson on Tuesday, June 14, at 11:00 a.m. EDT at waterparks, community pools and aquatic facilities around the globe. At many locations, there is no cost to participate in this event, and more details can be found at www.worldslargestswimminglesson.org.

 

Survey details: Telephone survey of 1,085 adults U.S. adults 18 years and older on April 7-11, 2011, conducted by ORC International.  Margin of error is +/- 3.0 percent at the 95% confidence level. Polling included total sample of 175 African-American adults, with 82 included through a second wave of telephone interviews. Where appropriate, comparison values from a March 2009 poll have been included: Telephone survey of  1,002 U.S. Adults 18 years and older on March 20-23, 2009, conducted by CARAVAN® Opinion Research Corporation.  Margin of error is +/- 3.1 percent at the 95% confidence level.

 

About the American Red Cross:

 

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.