COLUMBUS — The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Parks and Watercraft is reminding Ohioans to stay alert and always practice safety first when swimming at public beaches this summer.
“It’s important that all visitors understand the dangers of swimming in dark waters, especially for young children and inexperienced swimmers,” said ODNR Division of Parks and Watercraft Chief Glen Cobb. “Paying attention and watching out for each other is one of the best ways to make sure everyone has a safe and fun time at the beach.”
Most park swimming areas are designated “swim at your own risk” and do not have lifeguards on duty. The ODNR Division of Parks and Watercraft recommends that all visitors:
Keep a close eye on young children and inexperienced swimmers while they are in the water.
Swim only in designated areas at the beach and lake. Buoys mark safer swim areas and swimming past these markers increases the risk for tragedy.
Water conditions in lakes are often murky, and swimmers may not be able to determine how deep the water may be. Young and inexperienced swimmers should stay in shallower water.
Use the buddy system—designate one member of your group to stay on the beach to keep watch on the others while they swim.
Only use approved life jackets and vests for young children and inexperienced swimmers; all other floatation devices, including inflatables, are strictly prohibited.
Check water quality advisories at the Ohio Department of Health’s BeachGuard website (www.odh.ohio.gov/healthybeaches) before leaving for the beach.
Pack all the necessities like cell phones, snacks and sunscreen but leave the alcohol at home. Drinking alcoholic beverages and swimming do not mix.
Take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Stay home if you are sick, stay at least 6 feet away from others, avoid gathering in groups larger than 10, wash hands often with soap and water or sanitizer, and make sure all trash is disposed of properly.
Remember to take regular breaks from swimming.
ODNR’s Division of Parks and Watercraft manages several swimming beaches at state parks, including along Lake Erie. This year, state park pools are not open due to COVID-19.
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.