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Friday, August 02 2013

Be Safe on the Water This Weekend

Adapted from a Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) press release:

Officials from the Department of Conservation and Recreation are urging the public to act safely this summer as the warm weather and open water brings bathers, boaters, and waders onto DCR's lakes, ponds, and ocean beaches. While air temperatures may feel like summer, water temperatures can still be very cold. DCR encourages parents and visitors to be vigilant, especially with children, when visiting designated swimming areas. Parents should be near their children when they are in the water. To further help prevent water-related tragedies, DCR is releasing the following facts and safety tips for anyone venturing near the water:

Water Safety Facts:

    *Drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental death in the country.
    *Drowning victims usually drown within 30 feet of safety.
    *Each year, approximately 200 children drown and several thousand others are treated in hospitals for submersion accidents that often leave children with permanent brain damage or respiratory health problems. Children have a natural curiosity and attraction to water, and it takes only a few minutes for a child to wander away from adults in charge.
    *Water conducts body heat away up to 26 times faster than does air of the same temperature.
    *Once your body temperature drops below 95 degrees (only a few degrees below 98.6, which is normal), shivering often begins. At 93 degrees, loss of manual dexterity and muscle rigidity begin to develop. At about 86 degrees, a person becomes unconsciousness. At 83 degrees, cardiac arrest generally occurs.

Simple Safety Tips:

    *Never swim alone.
    *Swim only where lifeguards are present, whenever possible.
    *Never over estimate your swimming abilities.
    *Never drink alcohol while swimming.
    *Never swim in cold water or cold weather. It takes only minutes for hypothermia to set in. This is especially important in spring, when the air is warm but cold water can still affect breathing and other body functions.

For more information on water safety, visit these websites:

    US Army Corps of Engineers
    Nemours Foundation

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The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), an agency of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, oversees 450,000 acres of parks and forests, beaches, bike trails, watersheds, dams, and parkways. Led by Commissioner John P. Murray, the agency's mission is to protect, promote, and enhance our common wealth of natural, cultural, and recreational resources. To learn more about DCR, our facilities, and our programs, please visit www.mass.gov/dcr. Contact us at mass.parks@state.ma.us.

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View downloadable photographs on Flickr                   www.flickr.com/photos/masseea/sets/

Visit The Great Outdoors blog.................................... www.mass.gov/blog/environment

Visit our website........................................................ www.mass.gov/dcr

251 Causeway Street, Suite 600, Boston, MA 02114  (617) 626-1250 office / (617) 626-1351 (fax)

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