Water Safety

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Beach Safety

  • Swim in supervised areas only.
  • Obey all rules and posted signs.
  • Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
  • Don’t swim while under the influence of alcohol.
  • Wear shoes to protect your feet from getting burned or cut from objects in the sand.
  • Protect your skin: limit the amount of sunlight you receive between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., when the sun’s ultraviolet rays are the strongest; use sunscreen that protects for UVA and UVB and has a sun protection factor of 15 or greater on all exposed areas; apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before going outside.
  • Never swim alone.
  • Check water conditions before swimming.
  • Avoid patches of plants and sea life.
  • Water plants and animals may be dangerous.
  • Always make sure you have enough energy to swim back to shore.

Boating Safety

  • Learn to swim.
  • Watch the weather station before going boating.
  • Do not go boating during a storm.
  • Do not operate a boat while drinking alcohol.
  • Use Coast Guard approved life jackets for yourself and passengers.
  • Always give a responsible person details about where you will be and how long you will be gone.

Some beaches may close for a few days during swimming season because of possible pathogen contamination.  Pathogens are disease-causing bacteria and viruses that enter the water from inadequately treated human sewage and domestic and wild animal wastes.  People can become sick by swimming in contaminated waters or by eating raw or partially cooked shellfish that contain pathogens.  The concern is so great that some beaches and shellfish beds are immediately closed following a rainstorm in areas with known pathogen sources as a precaution to prevent exposure and protect public health.

The Westport Weston Health District tests the water at Westport’s beaches and Bisceglie Park in Weston on a regular basis to be sure the water is safe for swimming. Click here to see the most current water test results

Pool Safety

As the summer season heats up and backyard pools fill with children, the Westport Weston Health District reminds pool owners that there are steps they can take to reduce the risk of childhood drowning.

Most victims of pool drownings are young children. Nationally, about 300 children under five years old die each year in residential pools. The National Safe Kids Campaign estimates that for every child that drowns, four more are hospitalized for near-drownings, and as many as 20 percent of near-drowning survivors are left with severe, permanent neurological disability.

A common fallacy is that child drowning victims splash and scream, alerting others to trouble. The opposite is true. Childhood drowning is almost always a silent death. Survival depends on rescuing the child quickly and restarting the breathing process.

Rules for Pools

The Connecticut State building code requires pool owners to install a barrier, such as fencing or a wall, around all above and below ground pools. If your house forms one side of the barrier, door alarms are a must, too. To learn more about specific requirements, contact the Westport or Weston Building Department.

Make sure babysitters know about potential pool hazards to young children, and how to use protective devices around the pool, such as door alarms and latches. Emphasize the need for constant supervision.

Never leave a child unsupervised near a pool. If you are having a party, appoint a “designated watcher” for the pool. Adults can take turns being the watcher. If a child is missing, check the pool first. Do not allow a young child in the pool without an adult. Do not consider a young child to be drown-proof because they have had swimming lessons. Children must be watched closely while swimming. Do not use floatation devices as a substitute for adult supervision. Keep rescue equipment by the pool. Be sure a telephone is always poolside, with emergency numbers nearby. Remove toys from in and around the pool when not in use. Toys can attract young children to the pool. Never prop open the gate to a pool. All pool owners should learn CPR. Au pairs, babysitters, grandparents and older siblings should know CPR, too.

The rules above are from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. For more information about pool safety, write the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Pool Safety, Office of Information & Public Affairs, Washington, D.C. 20207.

Water Quality

Listen to public announcements on the safety of the municipal water quality. Private water wells will need to be tested and disinfected after floodwaters recede. Safe drinking water includes bottled, boiled or treated water.

Swimmer’s Itch

Swimmer’s itch is a dermatitis that develops on parts of the body that have been exposed to lake water. Reddened spots, called papules, form on the body within hours after exposure and with itch intensely for several days before subsiding. After approximately one week, the symptoms usually disappear. In severe cases, a person can develop a fever, become nauseated and spend several sleepless nights suffering from intense itching.

For more information