Kevin Hardy's Daily Safety Tips

Sat, 06/27/2020 - 12:11 -- Sarah M. previously

1. Fishing

Fishing in or around our swimming areas ANYTIME is dangerous to others!

Snagged hooks and abandoned lines are a hazard to swimmers. Please do not fish near the swimming areas- even before and after beach hours. Those in boats most stay clear of demarcated boundaries by 30 feet or more.

With over 22 species of fish Lake Barcroft is a fantastic PRIVATE fishery but please remember to follow the rules. 

2. "When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors"

Thunder is an indication of lightning striking nearby.  A rough tool you can use to determine your distance from a lightning strike is to count the seconds between seeing lightning flashes and hearing thunder then divide by 5 for approximate distance in miles but be aware lightning can strike up to 10 miles in front of a storm with no warning. 

According to the National Weather Service, lightning kills an average of 47 people in the United States each year, and hundreds more are severely injured. The safest place to be during a thunderstorm is inside a structure with 4 walls. If you can't get there stay in your car. If you are on the water get to your dock ASAP. For fast-moving storms pull your boat into a neighbor's dock and knock on their door. You DO NOT want to be on the open water in an electrical storm.

Lifeguards will clear the swimming area, vacate their towers, fly a red flag, and deny access to the lake when they hear thunder. We track storms with weather radar and lightning apps as well as observation. Lifeguards will vacate the beach when storms are imminent and you should do the same.
Check the weather before venturing out on the lake or to the beach. Be aware of the potential of Thunderstorms. Don't go if storms are imminent. Have a plan to prepare for fast-moving storms. For excellent Lightning Safety tips see these from the National Lightning Safety Council.

3. Beware of debris

When flashflood conditions exists you never know what will wash into the lake. Boaters beware of submerged debris on the Holmes and Tripps arms of the lake. It is best to avoid these areas unitl the WID can clean them.

4. Diving

Never dive headfirst from a boat or a dock until you have fully investigated the lake conditions around you. Diving into shallow water or submerged debris can cause serious injury or death.

5. When Meeting Head-On (Boating)

When Meeting Head-On- Pass port to port. In other words keep the approaching boat to your left. Stay to the right. Circumnavigate the lake counterclockwise. Common courtesy and standard rule of Navigation..

6. Overtaking Situation (Boating)

Overtaking Situation- Always yield to the intentions of the stand-on vessel (vessel in front of you with right of way). Pass with a wide berth when possible. Give sailing vessels plenty of room to maneuver.

7. Crossing Situation (Boating)

Crossing Situation- Yield to the starboard (right) approaching vessel. At night when you see the RED running light of a crossing boat stop or yield. If you see GREEN you are the stand-on vessel-proceeded with caution.

Please use navigation lights at night- DO NOT use docking lights as headlights; you blind oncoming boaters.

8. Forward Viewing

Forward viewing- All vessels traveling our lake MUST ALWAYS ensure a clear forward view of travel.

This includes rear-facing rowboats and rowing sculls. Single and double sculls are required to fit outriggers with mirrors of adequate size so as to ensure a full view of the path of travel ahead of the boat. Rowers should not rely on simply looking over their shoulders. Your boats are fast and silent. They are potentially deadly to a swimmer, kayak, or SUP.

9.  Toddler Beach Safety

It goes without saying that parents with toddlers should watch their children closely, especially around the water. What follows are my top 10 tips to keep in mind when visiting the beaches:

  • Always keep your child within arms reach when they are in the water. Toddlers can fall and inhale water at any time and they often lack the ability to stand up again.
  • Position yourself on the deeper side of the water while your child plays. This keeps the child from venturing too far and allows lifeguards easier supervision of groups of children.
  • The depth of the shallow area rope fluctuates. It is generally at 3 feet which can be deeper than some toddlers' chins. Keep non-swimming children no deeper than their chest unless they are in the arms of an adult.
  • Bouyant "puddle jumpers" or water wings are no substitute for swimming ability. Children wearing these must always be in arms reach of a strong swimming adult.
  • Inflatable floatation is only limited to the shallow area and should be watched carefully on windy days.
  • DO NOT allow your child to touch or play around the ropes. The ropes decay in the UV of the sun and therefore can be loaded with painful, infection-causing, polypropylene splinters. 
  • Monitor your child's bathroom needs. The lake is not the place to urinate (or defecate).
  • Lifeguards are not babysitters. You are the number 1 water watcher. Lifeguards are your backup.
  • Listen to the advice of lifeguards. They understand water safety.
  • Teach your child how to bob, float, and submerge their face while blowing bubbles. Water acquaintance skills can start as early as 6 months.