A Station for Everyone
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Siouxland Safety Expert Shares Summer Water Safety Tips

Critical Care Clinical Educator Amanda Monroe-Rubendall
MercyOne Siouxland
Critical Care Clinical Educator Amanda Monroe-Rubendall

Memorial Day Weekend means the first real taste of a new season. As the weather gets warmer, we all look forward to a more active lifestyle, including water sports. One local expert shares some pointers on staying safe this summer. Siouxland Public Media’s Sheila Brummer reports.

“It's such a big part of the summertime, especially in the Siouxland area, is enjoying all of our lakes, rivers, and pools.”

Water safety is top of mind for Amanda Monroe-Rubendall, Critical Care Clinical Educator at MercyOne Siouxland.

“There's a lot of, you know, fun things that we can do with family and friends. We're getting out of the house more, being able to enjoy the great weather. But when we are able to go outside and enjoy nature, there are some things that we need to think about.”

Monroe-Rubendall says, first and foremost, people need to know how to swim.

“And that's not just thinking we know how to swim, but actually taking swimming lessons. Another important thing is to know your limitations. Some people know how to swim, but they're not strong swimmers. So, knowing what your limitations are. That may include your physical fitness level or any medical conditions that you may have that can affect your limitations in the water.”

When it comes to swimming, Monroe-Rubendall says never do it alone.

“If you can swim somewhere where there are lifeguards available, that's always the best idea. If you can't swim, or if you're going to be on a boat, even if you're not planning on getting into the water, you need to wear a United States Coast Guard-approved life jacket available appropriate for your weight and size. A lot of parents will put water wings on their kids, thinking that that's something that will help keep them safe. But those water wings are not designed to keep your children from drowning. So, unfortunately, parents do rely on them, and accidents happen.”

The Iowa Department of Public Health recorded 27 unintentional drowning deaths across the state in 2020. The CDC reports drowning as the number one cause of death for children ages one to 4.

Monroe-Rubendall also advised people to stay sober in the water and on a boat.

“So, it's just as important to have a designated driver when you're out on a boat on the river or lake as if you're in your car on the interstate or the highway. So having that designated sober person, but also not drinking to access if you're on a boat. It decreases your inhibitions and can decrease your response time. So even if you're not the one operating the boat, it does lead to some safety risk for you.”

And reducing risk also comes from watching water conditions.

“So, if you're swimming in a river, knowing that you're going to have river currents that you're going to have to deal with. Or this time of year, maybe your pools, lakes, rivers, they're all cold and swimming in cold water can affect how we respond, our bodies respond because of that cold water. Also, in murky water like rivers or lakes, the water is not clear. You don't necessarily know what dangers are in that water.”

“But even if you're not going to swim and you're just like wadding around in the water, you know, you never know where there's going to be a drop-off. Or even if you're just fishing, you might kind of take a step or two out into that river to cast your fishing line out, and there may be a drop-off or some type of hole there in the riverbed, and you may lose your footing and be affected by the current.”

“Or if you're wearing a darker navy blue, black, or brown colored swimsuit, it can be harder to spot you in the water. So, wearing brightly colored swimsuits when you're particularly in murky water is a really good idea.”

Related Content