This summer, many families will be taking to the water to enjoy all kinds of watersports and activities, with the allure of sea, lakes, or rivers being too much of a temptation to resist.
However, whether it be in the sea, lakes, rivers or a swimming pool – if watersports, or simply going for a dip, are on the agenda for your next holiday – it's important to consider the potential risks involved. You should also check that the travel insurance you buy will cover any watersports activities. This is easy to do with Europesure Travel Insurance’s policies.
The Royal Life Saving Society and The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents have reported that in the UK, between June 2022 and 16 August 2022, there were 50 fatalities recorded where accidental drowning was suspected. Such incidents are not confined to British shores, however.
If taking to the water anywhere in the world this summer, make sure you are aware of the common risk factors and follow these tips.
- Where possible, find a lifeguarded beach and stay between any flags that indicate the part of the water safe to use. Make sure you understand what flags mean in the country you are visiting, as they may be different from those you are used to. Check for any warning signs and assess the water before entering, does it look choppy or does it have a strong current? Overseas, this may be called a ‘rip tide’.
- Consider the water temperature before entering - often, when the weather is warm, it's our natural instinct to jump straight in to cool down. However, this can cause cold water shock, which can lead to a heart attack. Any water temperature below 15°C is defined as ‘cold’ water and can seriously affect your breathing and mobility. Be sure to enter water slowly and acclimatize your body to the temperature. Where necessary, such as with watersports, wear a wetsuit.
- If taking young children on holiday, consider a refresher swimming course, always supervise them whilst they are swimming and use flotation devices. Take particular care with children who cannot swim, when around a swimming pool.
- If swimming in the sea, be mindful of any hidden hazards such as reefs, rocks, change in depth and currents.
- Stay alert for any unwanted marine life which may result in a nasty injury. Stepping on the spines of a Weever Fish in the waters of European countries like Italy, can be a painful experience. The same is true of brushing past a jellyfish, found in the waters of many of the most popular holiday destinations. Although a rarer occurrence, death at the hands of a Box Jellyfish has occurred across the coast of Northern Australia. It can be very helpful to invest in some water shoes, perfect for paddling and general walks along the beach, to avoid some of these incidents.
- If canoeing or paddle-boarding in rivers, take a good look at the water before entering - does it look clean? Is it stagnant? Dirty water, if ingested, can result in gastrointestinal illnesses, or stomach bugs, which may cause diarrhoea and/or vomiting, as well as respiratory, skin, ear and eye infections.
- We all want to enjoy ourselves on holiday and make the most of the delicious local food and drink but defer any alcohol consumption until after your swim activities. Drinking too much alcohol, prior to a swim, can impair cognitive function and slow down your response time. This can be very dangerous, significantly increasing the risk of drowning.
Stay safe in the water this summer and plan ahead. To see which travel insurance policy best suits your next holiday, visit www.europesuretravelinsurance.com