If you haven't done so already, sign up for lessons. Start instructing children as early as possible.
All public pools and beaches have signs with important safety rules or designated swimming areas. Make sure you read these before you enter the water.
Cold water can be a shock to your system, and may make it harder to swim.
;No one can predict hidden dangers, like sudden storms or rip currents. The same goes for poolside swimming - be prepared for the unexpected.
Swimming on a full stomach can cause cramps.
Always swim with a partner. ;Even experienced swimmers are ;susceptible ;to muscle cramps or exhaustion, which might make it difficult to reach safety. Doubling up or swimming in groups makes it easier to get help.
If you're not a strong swimmer, or are feeling tired, stay close to the shallow area and use a flotation device.
Swimming in a lake or ocean requires more effort, due to water currents.
Learn basic CPR skills. These invaluable life-saving techniques can be especially helpful if you are at a pool party or private home where no lifeguard is available.
Swim parallel to the shore ;until you are free of the current, while gradually making your way back to shore. If you're unable to swim away from the current, stay calm and float with it until the current slows down. Then swim to shore.
Avoid all coral reefs. Wear water shoes in rocky regions, or search for sandy-bottom areas.
Not only can sand can get hot enough to burn, it can hide hidden dangers like sharp rocks or broken glass. Tread carefully!
Even small ones sting if you accidentally touch them.