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This is a guest post written by Nikos Vasilellis.
Spending a day on the Lake can be a relaxing and invigorating experience for everyone involved. As a camp counselor, it is essential to ensure that you have all of the right equipment to keep yourself and your campers safe. A camp counselor’s main job is to ensure that your campers are having fun while staying safe.
Develop a Plan for Staying Safe While on the Lake
A plan for staying safe while doing activities on the Lake is crucial. If an emergency occurs, how will you deal with it?
- Appoint one person in your group to go for help if something does happen.
- Keep safety equipment nearby, inspected, and ready for use when it is needed.
What do You Need to Stay Safe on the Lake?
Items should be easily accessible and ready for use. Here are some suggested items for staying safe on the Lake:
Your first aid kit should contain an up to date manual that depicts essential first aid treatments, including CPR and mouth to mouth resuscitation techniques. It should include gauze and tape, scissors, a band-aid for minor cuts and scrapes, and an antibiotic cream that can be applied to prevent infections. An inflatable barrier/sealing device is also recommended for use over a patient’s mouth while providing mouth to mouth. Non-latex disposable gloves are in the first aid kit, and any time items are used or depleted, restore them in the kit.
Every person out on the water must be wearing a life jacket that fits them properly. All motorized watercraft, such as stand up paddleboard, kayak or canoe should carry appropriate life jackets. In the case of an emergency, the life jacket may save a person’s life, mainly if they are not a very strong swimmer.
Proper Swimming Wear
Ensure that all of your campers have the right swimwear that is suitable for the activities they are doing. A bikini-style bathing suit may not provide adequate coverage and may not stand up to certain water activities. Swimwear often drys fast so that when the camper is not in the water, they will not catch a chill from being wet if there is any wind or cloud coverage. The weather can change quickly on a lake, and it is essential to watch for hypothermia signs.
Have a List for Keeping Hooks and Fishing Gear Properly Stored
Store fishing gear and hooks so that they do not pose a hazard. Store sharp hooks that can easily impale fingers or other body parts in a closed container. Fishing rods can be taken apart in sections and stored so that they are not stepped on or broken and are out of the way. A list of equipment should be kept inside the tackle box so that each hook and piece of gear is accounted for and not left behind.
Five Safety Tips to Live by While Swimming on The Lake
24/7 Swimming Buddy
Advise all campers that they should never swim alone. It is best to use the buddy system any time that someone wants to go for a swim. When swimmers are in pairs, if one experiences a problem, the other one can try to help them, call for help or find help before tragedy strikes.
Counselor Must Be on Duty
No one should be swimming in the Lake alone, even with a buddy. A counselor should be present to supervise and ensure that everyone is safe. A counselor must be on duty, not just for safety but also for insurance reasons. Having a counselor on duty ensures that everyone is safe and has a memorable experience.
If You are Short of Breath, Leave the Lake
If you are swimming and have a hard time catching your breath, it could be one of many reasons. Exercise-induced asthma can cause breathing problems, mainly when asthma has been a problem in the past. Breathing while swimming is an important technique that must be taught and practiced. If you are swimming and are having problems breathing, you should get out of the water immediately to recover. There is a condition known as IPE or swimming-induced pulmonary edema – which can occur during cold water activities where the lungs fill with body fluids and can be fatal. Leave the water immediately upon feeling any inconsistencies. Counselors should be aware of this condition and keep an eye on campers.
If Feeling Thirsty Leave the Lake and Rehydrate
Even though swimming means you are in the water, you may not be drinking enough. Swimming, like any exercise, is physical exertion, and when you are exercising, you need to hydrate yourself. If you are thirsty, get out of the water and drink some water before continuing. Not drinking enough water can lead to exhaustion and cramps.
Follow All Swimming Rules Posted at The Swimming Area
Counselors must supervise and enforce all swimming rules posted for public view. Counselors post rules for a reason, and that is so that no one gets hurt. As a counselor, it is your job to watch out for your campers and ensure that everyone is safe and having a good time as well as following all posted rules.
Water activities can be fun, great exercise, and wear out all of your campers and swimming is an activity that can increase brain power in young children. It is vital to keep your campers safe throughout their operations and ensure that they are having a good time. No one wants to be injured at camp, mainly because that means that it will be the end of their experience. Having rules, procedures, and the proper safety equipment means that every camper will be safe and make the most of their experience.
Nikos Vasilellis is the Founder of Nereids Aquatic Coaching and has a passion and love for aquatic activities which is combined with his care for helping others. Nereids Aquatic Coaching company helps children and adults to overcome their fear of water by focusing on their individual strengths and helping them enjoy safely the aquatic environment. Nereids team is dedicated to decreasing the percentage of drownings while motivating students to remain physically active.