NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- As the summer begins to heat up, more and more people will be jumping in the water to find relief from hot and humid days. While being in the water can be fun, it also presents dangers that Sailors and their families should know and guard against.
According to the Naval Safety Center, swimming, boating, surfing, jet skiing and snorkeling are the top five activities where water accidents are reported. Of the five, swimming has the most reported fatalities, especially among young children.
“If you have kids, please keep an eye on them and always have them within an arm’s reach,” said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Travis Land, a Sailor assigned to the medical department aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73). “Things such as waves, currents or even just swimming can affect them more than it can us.”
Statistics from Stanford Children’s Health show that roughly 830 children below the age of 14 die every year because of drowning, making it the second-most preventable cause of death among young children.
Because of the prevalence of drowning, especially among young children, water safety is important for everyone to know and observe every time they or their loved ones are in or near the water.
“Water safety has to be a part of our everyday lives,” said Land. “We work on a ship and at some point we are going to go underway and we work in an environment where our spaces may flood.”
Recognizing your swimming limitations, further advancing your skill in swimming, and not participating in swimming activities while under the influence of alcohol or drugs are all ways to reduce your chances of drowning.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, lack of supervision, lack of swimming ability, location, such as an ocean or swimming pool, and alcohol use are the most common factors associated with drowning among all ages.
Getting trained in CPR could save a life in the event that someone goes under water and stops breathing, but there are additional measures one should take in such a scenario.
“Call for help immediately – 911, lifeguard, medical emergency – and check for scene safety,” said Land. “If the scene is safe and you are able, pull the person from the area, a body of water or flooded compartment, check for responsiveness and check for circulation, airway and breathing. Then wait for medical personnel to arrive.”
Drownings during the summer months are a real danger, and most are completely preventable. This summer, keep an eye on your friends and families, and do your best to abide by the tips above in order to have a safe and fun time in the water.
For more news from USS George Washington (CVN 73), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn73/.