Swimming is a healthy and vigorous physical activity suitable for all ages. A few laps in the pool or at the beach provide a full-body workout with less risk of overheating. Despite these health benefits, swimming does pose health hazards as well. Inexperienced swimmers may overestimate their skill level and find themselves out of their depth. At the seashore, pounding surf and riptides can endanger even highly skilled swimmers. Bad weather can be hazardous in both settings. Acknowledging and understanding the risks of swimming is the first step in staying safe.
Learn and obey all the rules of the pool to ensure a safe experience. You shouldn't run near the pool because you can slip and fall, possibly injuring yourself or others. "No horseplay" means don't push other people into the water by surprise and don't push others underwater. Pay attention to the depth markers and stay out of the deep end if you're a poor swimmer. Young children should always have adult supervision when swimming.
Swimming at a lake or in the ocean presents extra hazards not found in recreational pools. The murky waters of a lake may camouflage broken glass or other debris. Unclean water also carries the risk of disease. Ocean beaches also sometimes become polluted with washed-up garbage or dead sea animals. One of the greatest dangers to ocean swimmers are rip currents, powerful channels of water that surge toward the open water. Rip currents usually are narrow, so the key to survival is to swim across and not against them.
SWIMMING IN THE RAIN
A passing rain shower won't put you in any danger if you happen to be in the water. If it's a cool day, the rain may make you feel uncomfortable in the water. A heavier shower may obscure the shoreline, causing you to get disoriented if you're out far in the water. A rainstorm accompanied with high winds may lead to choppy water and unpleasant swimming conditions. If for no other reason than comfort, you should get out of the water when it starts to rain.
THUNDER AND LIGHTNING
If you hear thunder, then you're at risk of being struck by lightning. You need to get out of the water and into a place of shelter. Avoid trees, power poles and wide open spaces when a thunderstorm is on the way. Before you head out the door for a swim, take a peek at the weather forecast. When thunder and lightning are a good bet, have a shelter and backup plan in mind in the event of a sudden storm.