water safety

Water Safety for Everyone

Tips for people of all ages to stay safe in and around water

- from the Mass. Dept. of Public Health (DPH)

Swimming is a fun activity and a great way to keep cool during the hot summer months, but it’s important to know how to stay safe in and around water. Drowning is swift and silent — there may be little splashing or cries for help. It can take as few as 20 seconds to sink below the water and only minutes to drown, but you can stay safe by following these tips — whether around a pond, lake, river, ocean, or pool.


  • Make sure you know how to swim. If you can’t swim, keep to shallow areas or use a U.S. Coast Guard-guard approved life jacket. For a list of places offering swim lessons, view DPH's Learn to Swim! resources
  • Swim with a buddy, never alone, even if you are a very good swimmer
  • Swim in designated areas, with a lifeguard present
  • Swim sober: avoid drugs and alcohol to stay alert in the water
  • Do not dive or jump into water that is not at least 12 feet deep. Enter the water feet-first, never dive head-first into a river, lake or pond. You could severely injure your head and neck, and drown
  • Do not swim during a storm or when there is lightning
  • Don’t swim in an area with strong moving currents in the water. Depth, currents, underwater debris and water temperature change constantly in rivers, lakes, and ponds. Yesterday’s safe swimming spot might have hidden dangers today.
  • Keep a cell-phone handy and know where you are in case you need to call for help
  • When on a boat, wear a US Coast Guard approved life jacket
Learn more about drownings among children, adolescents, and adults on the Department of Public Health's website.

Learn CPR

The Red Cross offers a wide selection of CPR/AED, first aid, lifeguarding, swimming and water safety, caregiving, disaster response and emergency preparedness training. Find information on classes.

For more information, call us at (617) 624-6060

DPH Water Safety Fact Sheets

Visit the Department of Public Health's website for more information on being safe in and around water.
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