Water and Beach Safety

Water and beach activities are popular pastimes for Madeira Beach. As traffic increases, safety requires vigilance to prevent mishaps and even serious accidents. Careless navigation causes damage to property from excessive wakes. Some of the following are laws; others are suggestions.

Boating the Safe Way

  • Observe the posted “Idle Speed, No Wake” and “Slow Down, Minimum Wake” signs.
  • Do not operate your watercraft at more than 4 nautical miles per hour within 100 feet of people swimming or within 200 feet of beaches frequented by swimmers.
  • Do not water-ski or operate a boat towing skiers within 300 feet of the beaches.
  • Do not anchor your vessel within 50 feet of a private dock or seawall except in the case of an emergency.
  • If you see a boating accident or someone in the water who needs assistance, call the Coast Guard Marine Rescue in St. Petersburg at (727) 896-6187.
  • Florida Fish and Wildlife’s Boat Safety site has boating regulations and more safety tips. It also provides an online safety course. Visit their homepage for more information here.
  • To learn more about keeping your dogs safe when boating please click here.

Safety at the Beach

  • There are no lifeguards on duty at our beaches.
  • Heed the sign on South Beach near John’s Pass Bridge concerning the undertow.
  • Usually, during the summer months, stingrays come close to shore. Shuffle your feet when wading in shallow water to avoid stepping on one and getting a painful sting. If you get stung, seek medical attention right away.
  • Keep our beaches safe and litter free by using the beach trash cans.
  • Do not let a sunburn happen to you!
  • Do most of your sunbathing before 10:00 a.m. and after 2:00 p.m. Use a beach umbrella. Wear a hat and a long-sleeved shirt.
  • Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of 15+ on areas.

Drowning Prevention 

Drowning is one of the main causes of accidental death for American infants and children under the age of five. Only by increased awareness and effort can we reduce some very alarming statistics. Below are tips on how to help prevent such accident from occurring.

Drowning Prevention Tips:

  • There is no substitute for adequate supervision.
  • Pools and spas are attractive to children, and children must be kept away from them in the absence of adequate supervision. A fence, wall or natural/artificial barrier should completely enclose your pool or spa. All gates or doors with access to the pool or spa should have a spring lock, self-closing and self-latching mechanism that protects against unauthorized entry and use. The inside latch should be above the reach of toddlers or young children. Check with your state or local government to learn their specific legal requirements concerning fencing around pools and spas. You cannot be too cautious. If your pool, spa or hot tub is indoors, lock the door to the room or have a cover that locks, to keep out children and other unauthorized users.
  • Do not place objects, i.e. chairs or tables near the pool or spa fence that would allow a youngster to climb over. Tree limbs and low overhanging roofs should be removed or made inaccessible.
  • A float line stretched across a pool indicating where the deep end begins can avoid dangerous excursion by young children into water over their heads.
  • A clear view of the pool or spa from the house should be assured by removing vegetation and other obstacles. Trespassers or unexpected swimmers can be discovered by an occasional glance at the pool or spa area.
  • Reaching and throwing aids should be kept on both sides of the pool. These items should remain stationary and not be misplaced through play activities.
  • Pools or spas should never be used if any of the grate outlets are missing or broken.
  • It is important that you carefully read and follow the manufacturer’s directions for safe installation, use, and maintenance of your pool or spa cover. Always completely remove the cover before using your pool or spa, this is to avoid the possibility of anyone, especially a small child, being trapped and drowning under the cover. Drain any standing water from the surface of your pool or spa cover. An infant or small child can drown even in the smallest amount of water. Be especially alert for the potential for drowning accidents if you use any of the lightweight, floating pool or spa covers. These floating covers are not solid and no one should crawl or walk on them. They are not for safety.

TIPS

  • Never leave a child alone, out of eye contact, or without supervision in or near the pool or spa, not even for a second!
  • Young children should never be considered water safe despite their swimming skills, previous instruction or experience.
  • Access to the pool or spa should be limited by locked doors or gates whenever swimming or soaking cannot be supervised.
  • Teach your children good pool or spa safety habits: no running, pushing playmates, no jumping on others, no diving or jumping in shallow water or “dunking.”
  • Do not rely solely on plastic inner tubes, inflatable armbands or other toys to prevent accidents.
  • Keep toys, particularly tricycles or wheel toys, away from the pool or spa. A child playing with these could accidentally fall into the water.
  • Do not allow anyone of any age to swim without a “spotter” nearby/ Examples of good safety behavior by adults are important to young children.
  • During social gatherings, be certain that someone has the major responsibility for watching the children and swimmers at all times.
  • Do not permit playful screaming for help – false alarms – which might mask a real emergency.
  • Teach your children the most effective way to get out of the pool or spa quickly.
  • Do not allow your child to swim immediately after eating a heavy meal.
  • Do not allow swimming during thunder or other storms.
  • Do not allow glass in the pool or spa area.
  • Do not allow the use of drugs or alcohol by a person using the pool or spa, or in pool or spa area.

Prepare for a Pool Emergency

Poolside rescue equipment, including a ring buoy with an attached line and/or a long-handled hook, should be available to assist in removing victims from the water. This equipment should never be used for play.
Emergency procedures should be clearly written and posted in the pool area. In case of emergency:

  • Dial 911. It is advisable to install a telephone or use cordless/cell phone in the pool or spa area.
  • Give your name, location, and the telephone number you are calling from.
  • Tell what happened and how many people need help.
  • Don’t hang up the phone until after the emergency person does.

Adults in the family should be trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). CPR is the combination of rescue breathing and artificial circulation for victims of respiratory or cardiac arrest as a result of drowning, heart attack or other causes. CPR training is available through our Fire Department as well as local chapters of the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association. Preventing an emergency is the best preparation: Never leave a child alone in or near a pool, spa or any other body of water! Take special precautions with young children who use spas. Spas are deep enough for children to drown in a matter of minutes. Also, children may become ill from overheating.

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