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Playing It Safe in and on the Water

There’s fun for everyone at TVA reservoirs. You can boat, fish, water ski, boogie board, canoe, kayak, swim, ride on a tube or jet ski, or just play on the shore.

kids in lifejackets in the waterWhile you are having a good time, always keep safety in mind. Following the Magnificent Seven safety rules when you’re around the water will help prevent accidents and injuries and keep you playing all summer long.

The Magnificent Seven Safety Rules

  1. Learn to swim. Knowing how to swim, float, and hold your breath under water are three skills that could save your life. It’s never too late to learn or to improve your skills. (Find out more from the American Red Cross.)
  2. Bring a buddy. Never swim, boat, fish, kayak, tube, or jet ski alone. If you do, no one will be there to help if you get hurt.
  3. Supervision saves lives. Never swim or play on or near the water without a lifeguard or adult watching out for you.
  4. Wear a life jacket. When you’re in a boat, a life jacket is required, and if you’re not a strong swimmer, it makes sense whenever you’re near water. Life jackets float and can help keep your head above water. Put it on your body—not under your seat—and keep it buckled snugly.
  5. Feet first. Rocks, trees, and other dangers are hidden underwater. Even if you are on a boat in the middle of a lake, always climb down into the water on your first dip in to make sure the area is deep enough and safe for swimming. Then play it safe and jump—don’t dive—into the water you’ve checked out. (Your feet can take a lot more pounding than your head. Protect your brain by always jumping in feet first.)
  6. Throw, don’t go. If someone falls into the water, don’t jump in after them to help. You could get pulled under and then both of you could be in trouble. Instead, immediately call out to an adult to help (see why number 3 is so important?) and look around you for a flotation device like a life ring, life jacket, or even an empty milk jug. Throw it to the person in the water so they can float and try to kick back to safety.
  7. Be a safe boater. Whether you’re a passenger on someone else’s watercraft or are old enough to operate your own boat or jet ski, be sure to learn the rules of the water. Here are six quick tips:
    • Stay seated when the boat is in motion.
    • Never sit on the side of the boat.
    • Watch out for swimmers and smaller boats.
    • Don’t throw any trash off the boat.
    • Steer clear of docks, the shore, and other boats.
    • Obey the posted speed limits.

Want to learn more about water safety?

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