With summer upon us, local agencies are reminding Georgians of the importance of water safety.
Last year, more than 200 Georgians drowned while swimming, boating, playing near water or even taking baths. The state’s water-safety initiative, SPLASH, aims to greatly reduce the number of these deaths and injuries.
SPLASH encourages citizens to follow these tips when enjoying beaches, pools, lakes, rivers and other bodies of water:
- Supervision — Designate an adult to watch children at all times. Do not assume someone else is watching.
- Prevention — Wear personal flotation devices (PFD or life jacket), install fencing around pools, and use drain covers in hot tubs and pools.
- Look before you leap — Never jump into water without knowing how deep it is and what is below the surface.
- Arm’s Length — Adults should be arm’s length to children in water, and safety tools such as hooks should be nearby at all times.
- Swim Lessons — Knowing how to swim greatly reduces the chance of drowning. Classes are often available through the Red Cross or YMCA.
- Have a Water Safety Plan — Know what to do during an emergency.
The campaign includes bilingual brochures, boat checks by law enforcement officers, public service announcements and videos, and social media messaging. The DNR is in the process of adding “loaner boards” with PFDs at public boat ramps, and these locations will be added to the Georgia Outdoors app.
The SPLASH campaign has many partners, including the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Georgia Emergency Management Agency, Georgia Department of Public Health, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, American Red Cross, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, Georgia Power and others.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there were approximately 10 water-related deaths per day across the country during the last decade. Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death for children 1 to 4 years of age, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.