Beware of Diving Dangers

This summer’s record temperatures have families across Arkansas heading to lakes and pools to stay cool. While swimming is an appealing way to stay out of the heat, it’s important to remember that putting safety first can go a long way in preventing unnecessary and often devastating injuries.

Whether you’re jumping into a pool or a natural body of water, always check the water’s depth by wading into it before jumping or diving. Be particularly careful in lakes, rivers, and oceans, where depth is constantly affected by daily tides, shifting sand bars, and debris moving just below the surface. Even your favorite cliff-diving spot can go from perfectly safe to disastrous in a short time and should be checked anew upon each visit.

Remember, 90% of diving injuries take place in water 6 feet or less, and 75% of diving incidents occur in natural bodies of water. In the past, the gravity of such injuries has even compelled the Arkansas tourism department to remove TV ads showing visitors jumping from bluffs.

Additionally, be mindful that alcohol is associated with up to 50% of all recreational water deaths. Never “drink and dive”; you need all of your faculties to accurately judge distance and depth and to coordinate your body’s speed and motion.

Don’t let yourself or your friends be victims of preventable brain and spinal cord injuries. Have fun and stay cool this summer, and make safety a priority.

Read more diving safety tips here.