How To Stay Safe In Open Water

July 11, 2022 Posted by SwimRVA

It’s the time of year that everyone, especially water lovers, look forward to all year long: Summer! Though here at SwimRVA we see swimmers all year long, there are many people who are just now breaking their swimsuits back out and getting ready to spend 3 glorious months practically living in the water. Whether you are more inclined to visit your local swimming pool, or love to vacation at the beach, making sure you are well educated on water safety will ensure that your summer will be as amazing as you want it to be. According to the CDC, about 11 people die from drowning every single day. This affects everyone, not a single person is immune to the danger of drowning. In order to make sure that you are living in the safest way possible, learning how to swim, as well as making sure that you are extra cautious around water is extremely important.

Why is Water Safety Important?

Learning different safety techniques is important for everyone no matter where you live, but living in the Greater Richmond region calls for a unique necessity to be up-to-date on water safety. Living in this city provides many aquatic opportunities because the James River cuts right through the middle of it. So many events occur at the James River, whether it be organized white water rafting, swim races, or other fun summer activities, or simply friends and family hanging out and swimming. We want everyone to experience the full enjoyment of those activities, which is why we encourage you to take safety precautions.

3 Tools You Can Use To Stay Safe

The James River is central to the Richmond experience, and if you live in the area, more than likely you will be spending some time there. Thankfully, we have you covered. There are many tools that can help you have a much safer, and therefore more enjoyable, experience.

First, from the James River Association, you can check the river conditions prior to heading out and spending the day there! The difference between staying safe at a pool, and staying safe in open water, is that open water is less constant. It’s important to make sure that the river is ready for you! The James River Association has created James River Watch, which is a quality monitoring program that lets you know what the conditions are. Make sure to check this before you go: https://thejamesriver.org/explore-the-james/james-river-watch/

Second, one of the most dangerous times to go swimming in open water is during a storm, and unfortunately, sometimes storms catch us off guard if we aren’t checking the weather throughout the day. Make sure before you head out on your water adventure that you check the weather. This particular tool, the National Weather Service Middle Atlantic River Forecast Center, monitors the flood forecast specifically focusing on the rivers. You can view the forecasts, water supply, climate and history, seasonal interest, and more. Keep informed about the weather forecast: https://www.weather.gov/marfc/

Once you have determined that the river and weather conditions are acceptable and safe for you to enjoy your time on the James, it’s time to plan your trip! Don’t wander aimlessly around the river. It’s a large area, and it’s smart to have an idea of where you are. Whether you are planning on just spending a day there, or if you are planning a camping trip, James River Association has you covered. They have James River Maps available on their website for your convenience. You can find camping grounds, walking trails, riverside restaurants, etc. Make sure you know your way around before you step out: https://thejamesriver.org/explore-the-james/james-river-maps/

SwimRVA’s Mission

SwimRVA is dedicated to drownproofing Richmond, and we do this through all of our programming. The Swim School has a seven station system that teaches everyone, regardless of age, how to swim. The RAPIDS sports teams (swim team, water polo, artistic swimming) encourages teamwork and competition, while also ensuring that every team member is swimming sagely. The Hammerheads is a US Masters program that actually has multiple open water events and training, and the Wellness programs focus on improving fitness through aquatics.

Next time you are planning your trip to the James River, or any other open water adventure, make sure to utilize the tolls given here in order to stay safe.


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