Love the cottage? So many of us Canadians do! We can’t wait to get out in nature and hang out by the water, especially after a long, cold winter.
The cottage is a place for rest, relaxation and making wonderful memories. It is also a place where preventable, tragic accidents happen every year.
For that reason, I’ve put together a list of four very SIMPLE things you can do to ensure your family’s safety at the cottage:
1.) Keep a Buoyant Aid Nearby
You just never know when someone in the water is going to need help and simply having a buoyant aid nearby can mean the difference between life and death. A buoyant aid, any item that can support weight in the water, is easy to throw and hold onto.
You need them at the water’s edge or in the boat – and here’s why: any device you can use to help a person struggling in the water and put distance between you and them is 100% better than having them grab hold of YOU.
At all costs, you want to avoid contact with a struggling swimmer lest they pull you down in their panic!
Here are some aids you can keep at hand:
-Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) or Lifejackets– A couple of extras on hand that fit both adult and child, not only encourage their use in a boat, they also prove handy to throw or reach to someone who needs help in the water.
-Ring Buoy– These are heavier and can be thrown a good distance with decent accuracy from a dock or boat to someone in need.
-Dense Foam Noodle– These are sturdier, more durable and dense than the typical noodles. They are good to use as a reaching aid from a dock, boat or shallow water and keeps you a distance from the person you are helping.
*Note on non-swimmers: If a child you are watching can’t swim, insist they wear a PFD while they’re in and around the water.
2.) Restrict Water Access
Have you noticed that when a child wants something, there isn’t much that stands in their way of getting it?! That’s why you need to set up multiple barriers to prevent your little one from getting to that water.
Here are some ideas that might help:
- Install locked, child-proof gates wherever possible.
- Ensure low interior windows are locked when you are in the cottage so the kids can’t climb through.
- Lock all doors while you are inside and install childproof devices if needed.
- Crawl around at your child’s level to see what they see from their perspective – and what you might be missing!
3.) Keep The Essentials Close By
While this might not sound like it has anything to do with water safety, indirectly it does. If your health is compromised your full attention will not be on the safety of yourself and those around you.
Here are some things to keep close at hand to prevent sun and heat stroke:
- Water for hydration
4.) Water Watcher – Gotta have one!
Designate a person who can be a Water Watcher. This is someone who is at the water’s edge – or in the water an arm’s length away from a child that can’t swim – with both eyes on the kids at all times! Be sure the children around know who the Water Watcher is so if they have any issues they know who to call. Sometimes things come up and the watcher needs to leave the area. In that case, they should pick another person to watch the kiddies in their absence.
Here’s hoping these tips keep your family and friends safer at the cottage!
Please know that we at the Aqua Life wish you a whole lot of fun and aquatic adventures this summer. We love teaching your kids (and you) and getting them (and you) ready for summer! After all, lessons are an additional layer of safety for fun in and around the water. <3
How do you ensure everyone is safe by the water when you’re at the cottage or on vacation? Let me know your answer in the comments!