Image by Silas Baisch

How to Recreate Responsibly

Water Safety Edition

Enjoying time outside includes being water-safe. Know your own limits, as even confident and strong swimmers can get into trouble. Follow, share and contribute to this guidance to safely recreate in, on, or around water. 

Know Before You Go

Check the weather forecast and water conditions before you go. Cold water can be dangerous, even on warm days. Learning to swim is the #1 recommendation for water safety.

Plan And Prepare

Life jackets save lives—bring one if they won’t be readily available. Lifeguards may not be present, know if they're on duty. Bring essential gear for boats or vessels like navigational devices and paddle floats.

Build A Safe And Inclusive Outdoors

People have different comfort levels with water. We can be safer together. When recreating with young children or in groups, designate a water watcher.


Learn How to Respond

If someone else is in trouble, call 911 and get help. Don’t go in the water to help. To assist others: Reach, Throw, Don’t Go. If you are in trouble: Flip, Float, Relax.

Respect Water

Water can be powerful. Always tell someone your plan when headed out solo. Obey posted safety signs. Learn to read water conditions and remain alert.

Make it Better

All water sources are connected, and are home to fish and other life. Help protect our waters by leaving your environment cleaner than you found it.
Water is Life.

Access the full Water Safety Edition communications toolkit in English and Spanish. 

Understanding outdoor water safety...  

Does the activity take place in, on or around water? 

Summer Dip

when “in” water 

(intentional swimmers) 

swimming, paddleboarding, rope-swings etc.

Father and Son Fishing

when “on” water 

(potential swimmers) 

rafting, kayaking, human & motor-powered boating/fishing

Couple by Waterfall

when “around” water 

(un-intentional swimmers) 

Shoreline and other activities near water: hiking, climbing, picnicking

Kid wearing a life vest sitting on a sailboat with his arms stretched out to the sides like he is flying.
Check out these resources to help keep ourselves, others, and our waters safe!
Learning to swim is the  #1  water safety recommendation

Outdoor Afro's Swimmership applications are open till May 15th

Learn about TankProof's mission of helping everyone swim

Whitewater can be the most unpredictable and yet most heavily utilized waters

Check out these safety and #RecreateResponsibly resources from American Whitewater

Blue Water
For Resource Managers
For Program Operators
Blue Water
Couple on Pier
For Recreators

For Community Centers or Retailers:

Get a Recreate Responsibly Water Edition Poster or rack cards to share with your audiences.