Water Safety Information from Boone Fire Department

Last Updated on June 3, 2021 6:20 pm

From Boone Fire Prevention Caption Jacob Burleson:

Now that it is warm enough to get out and enjoy the waters of Watauga County, I want to share the following information from Boone Fire Department about water safety. Drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional death in the United States. Every day an average of 10 people die from unintentional drowning. It only takes a few seconds. Children and weak swimmers can drown in the time it takes to reply to a text. Death and injury from drownings occur every day in pools, hot tubs, bath tubs, buckets, lakes, rivers, streams and oceans. It could take only a few teaspoons of water to drown!

Caregivers should create layers of protection that include fences or barriers, life jackets and close supervision to prevent drowning. Everyone should learn to swim and at least achieve a level of water competency that will allow them to: enter the water, submerge their heads, resurface, be able to get a breath of air, stay afloat, change position in the water, swim a short distance and get back out of the water. During a water emergency you should know how to call for emergency help, how to help someone in trouble in the water safely and how to perform CPR.

Tips for water safety:

  • Know your limitations including medical conditions and physical fitness.
  • Never swim alone. Swim with lifeguards, buddies and water watchers present.
  • Swimming and alcohol do not mix.
  • Understand and adjust for unique risks of the water environment you are in, such as:
  • River and ocean currents
  • Water temperature
  • Underwater hazards such as vegetation, rocks and animals
  • Children, inexperienced swimmers and all boaters should wear U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets.
  • If you encounter someone distressed in the water, the two acceptable methods for untrained rescuers to remove that person from the water is to REACH out for them or THROW aid to them. If you are untrained, you should NEVER row or swim out to the victim. Many untrained people have drowned by entering the water to rescue a drowning victim.
  • It takes just a few inches of running water to sweep away a vehicle. Do not walk, swim or drive through flood water. Remember to TURN AROUND, DON’T DROWN!
  • Heavy rains miles upstream can cause rivers to rise rapidly without warning. Be aware of weather conditions in your area to avoid being trapped or injured on the river.

As we head into warmer weather and Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, several organizations will be offering swim lessons again. Students, faculty and staff of Appalachian State can take lessons on a limited basis beginning in August. For more info, contact aquatic director Cheryl Eddins at ASU UREC. Deer Valley Athletic Club information can be found at: At this time, Blowing Rock will not be offering swim lessons for 2021 and all lessons are full at the new Watauga County Recreation Center. Swim lessons are also offered through the YMCA in areas close to Watauga County.

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