A Beginner’s Guide to Water Safety

Our primary goal is to proliferate important and useful knowledge about Colorado’s various water recreational opportunities. However, residents and visitors cannot truly have fun if safety hazards are present. The best way to protect yourself from the dangers of water fun is to understand the risks. Below, we have listed five of the most essential tips for staying safe in Colorado’s rivers, lakes, and waterparks.


Swim with a friend. Never go swimming alone. Whether you’re visiting a secluded lake or a busy waterpark, always swim with a partner. This person can help you in the case of an emergency—a fall at a park or loss of energy on a long swim.


Learn some safety practices. If you have the time and capability, learn a couple of life-saving skills, such as CPR and rescue techniques. Several organizations offer free classes for both beginner and experienced swimmers. Check with your local YMCA or Red Cross chapter.


Swim in safe areas. If part of the beach is blocked off, don’t swim there. If a pool at a waterpark is closed, don’t try to jump in. Additionally, it’s a good idea to swim only in places supervised by a lifeguard. Strong currents, sudden storms, and other environmental factors can leave even the most experienced swimmer looking for help.


Know your limits. Drownings will often occur as a result of swimmers overestimating their ability—whether that means staying out longer than intended, not recognizing they are tired, or going in too deep. Understand your personal limitations and act accordingly.


Be careful about diving. Diving injuries can cause head injury, permanent spinal cord damage, paralysis, and even death. Only dive in areas that are known to be safe. If areas have “No Diving” signs posted, it likely means the area is dangerous.


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