Summer swimming safety tips from an expert

John A. Pavoncello
York Dispatch

A few weeks into the summer vacation, sun worshipers are taking to the pools, rivers, ponds and oceans to cool off.

Todd Stahl, a Pennsylvania water-rescue instructor, has a few tips for fun, safe summer swimming adventures.

First up: Always swim in a guarded area or with a friend, and children and weak swimmers should always have adult supervision.

“The lack of supervision relates to a lot of individuals who have drowned over the years,” said Stahl, especially those younger than 14. “It’s very important to swim with adult supervision or in a guarded place, such as with a lifeguard.”

Some more basic rules for water safety: Check the weather, don’t run around in-ground swimming pools and never jump on others while they are in the water.

“Check the weather conditions prior to going swimming," Stahl said. "If you know it’s gonna be windy and a storm on its way, obviously that wouldn’t be a good day to go out swimming.”

Water rescue instructor Todd Stahl and his son's swim in the Hellam Township pool recently. Sunday, July 2, 2017. John A. Pavoncello photo

Slippery conditions around an in-ground pool can lead to injuries, he said.

And jumping into the water and landing on other swimmers can make staying above the water difficult for all parties, he said.

Stahl is a big proponent of personal flotation devices, especially for children and those who don't swim well. Stahl suggests pool owners have PFDs available in a range of sizes, including 0-30-, 30-50- and 50-90-pound ratings.

Never rely on “floaties” or other unapproved flotation devices, especially with children younger than 14, he said.