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Posted on: July 11, 2018

Department of Public Health Informational Advisory on Water Safety

 

Drowning is often silent and warning signs that someone is in danger can go unnoticed. Even highly skilled swimmers are susceptible to drowning.

 

In addition to promulgating safety regulations, DPH provides a water safety website to educate people about keeping safe in and around water, and will be tweeting safety messages in July and August.

 

Local Boards of Health can play a vital role in the following ways:

 

  • Get the message out about summer safety by communicating these and other water safety tips to their communities:
    • Drinking alcohol and swimming increases your risk for drowning
    • Whenever possible, avoid swimming alone
    • Identify a dedicated water watcher who is sober, and focused on the people in the water, even if there is a life guard on duty
    • Do not swim out to an island in a pond/lake unless you know from experience how far it is

 

  • Work with local Recreation Departments to assure signs are clearly posted in locations where swimming is prohibited, and with law enforcement to assure that no one is swimming in prohibited areas, especially on hot sunny days.

 

  • Ensure that all permitted beaches, pools, and camps that use these water bodies are compliant with local and state regulations. 

 

Below are links to information and resources to assist with compliance:

 

Christian’s Law Guidance Document - Details required procedures for swim testing and life jacket fitting at camps and municipal programs using fresh and salt water beaches.

 

Christian’s Law Guidance Checklist - Provides a list of “to dos” for all camp and program operators that oversee swimming activities at fresh and salt water beaches.

 

Department of Elementary and Secondary Education/Department of Public Health Pools in Schools Advisory -Provides safety information regarding swimming at school pools which are often used by summer camps and programs.

 

Recreational Camp Emergency Plans for Incidents and Natural Disasters - Outlines plan requirements including lost swimmer plans.

 

Information About Recreational Camps for Children in Massachusetts: Questions and Answers for Parents and Guardians - Gives a general regulatory overview, and includes information on counselor ratios to inform parents about safety for licensed camp activities including swimming.