Swimming safety


Water Safety Guidelines
Swimming after drinking alcohol presents an increased risk of accidents, so refrain from or control swimming after drinking.
To prevent muscle cramps, warm up before you swim.
Before getting in the water, first wet your extremities furthest from the heart (legs, arms, face, and chest, in that order).
When you have goosebumps while swimming, wrap yourself warmly and take a rest. ※ There is significant risk of a cramp on the legs or a spasm on the muscles. Pay special attention!
Water depth may not be uniform, and spots with a sudden slope or drop-off are particularly dangerous.
Persons not experienced in water rescue should refrain from attempting to save someone.
When someone is drowning, let surrounding persons know it in a loud voice. Do not dive into the water recklessly unless fully confident that you can handle the situation.
Even if you are a strong swimmer, use available implements (poles, tubes, Styrofoam, etc.) when performing safety rescue.
Do not swim when you are not feeling well physically, or when you are hungry, or right after eating.
Do not behave recklessly from overconfidence in your swimming ability.
Do not swim for prolonged periods, and do not swim alone in lakes or rivers.
Preparations for Swimming
Generally, the proper swimming temperature is 25~26℃. When swimming, keep in mind the following:
Warm up first, then get into the water slowly starting with the legs, adapt your body to the water temperature, and finally start swimming.
Even if the water is shallow, beginners shouldn’t take safety for granted. Always prioritize safety– When going down a waterslide, some people end up struggling and swallowing water, even when the water is only knee-high.
Do not swim below a boat or other large floating object. ※ When a person is pushed away from the bottom of a boat by buoyancy as they inhale, it is difficult to escape as they exhale. This results in the body sinking.
Do not enter deep water beyond your swimming ability by relying on props such as a log, an inflatable inner tube, etc. ※ You may get separated from the prop or some problem may occur with the inner tube.
Do not fool around by saying things like “Save me!” or pretending to be drowning. ※ Those around you may misconstrue the situation, leading to an accident.
Swim in accordance with your physical fitness and ability. ※ Doing the breaststroke for 50m can generate the same amount of fatigue as running a 250m race on the ground.
Do not swim while chewing gum or any food item. ※ This may block the airway, leading to suffocation.
Precautions for swimming with children
Although adults are not vigilant around shallow water, it may present the greatest danger.
When children are using an inflatable ring in the shape of an animal such as a turtle or duck in which their legs are inserted much like in a baby walker, they may not be able to extricate themselves if the float overturns, causing their head to be submerged.
Safety during water activities can be guaranteed only when adults are taking part, and it is important to remember that it takes only seconds for a child to drown.
Water accidents involving children occur because of the carelessness and negligent supervision of adults.
Guardians should monitor toddlers and children who are less cognizant and physically adept from a position within arm’s reach, to enable immediate rescue.
As older children (ages 6-9) develop a broader range of activities, they may be beyond the guardian’s control. Therefore, attention should be given to advanced safety training and precautionary measures.
Behavior according to swimming situation
When swimming in ocean waves
  • Swim in a relaxed mode to conserve physical strength. (Tension itself consumes physical strength.)
  • The head should be kept above water at all times.
  • Sometimes it is better to swallow water rather than struggling with all your might not to get water in your mouth.
  • When a large wave overtakes you, submerge yourself deeply to remain safe
  • When taking a rest, follow the direction of the wind (treading water, floating).
  • If you are engulfed by a big wave, don’t struggle, but instead let your body be carried by the wave; hold your breath until you naturally resurface.
  • In general, where waves are large, the water is deep, while the areas where the waves break or there are white foamy waves are shallow. The darker areas are deeper, while the clearer areas are shallower.
  • The tidal cycle between ebb tide and high tide is generally 6 hours long, so it is very important to check the time when low and high tide are changing. Whenever the tide changes, the current, waves, and ocean floor change sharply.
  • When a strong current or tide is carrying you out to sea, swim toward the shore at an angle rather than trying to swim directly against the waves.
If you become wrapped in seaweed
  • If you become wrapped up in seaweed, move yourself gradually and gently to release the arms and legs. If there is a current or tide, allow the body to be carried by the flow and wait a moment. The seaweed will become loosened, and all you have to do is detach yourself it by throwing it off and then finally resurface.
  • If you are shocked and begin to struggle, you may become more entangled. Breathe calmly, and continue to extract yourself while gradually and smoothly moving your body vertically.
Muscle cramps during swimming
  • Muscle cramps are most likely to occur in cold water or when muscles are fatigued, and occur among swimmers who are frequently in such situations.
  • The parts most frequently affected by cramps include fingers and toes and sometimes thighs. If you swim too soon after a meal, stomach cramps may occur.
  • During cramping, release the tension in the body to get into a comfortable position (if you try to get rid of them in a panic, the spasms may become more severe) and massage the cramped part. A stomach cramp is an urgent condition so you should seek help at once.
When crossing a river or mountain stream
  • Select a place where the current is gentle, and if possible, move across the bottom with a dragging kind of movement.
  • Keep your eyes fixed on the opposite bank when crossing a river.
  • If there are stones in your course of movement, avoid them as much as possible.
  • As you move, measure the water depth with some object (feel with a stick in a slightly upstream direction.)
  • Move with the water current, but when the water is rough, swim slightly against the flow.
  • Install a rope downstream on the opposite side and go across one person at a time.
  • Install a rope above the water. Unless there is a rope, several persons should hold hands or support one another’s shoulders, and cross side by side in the direction of the current.
If you fall into a river
  • If you fall into a flowing river, drift in the direction of the current and escape by swimming at an angle.
  • If you fall into the water while wearing clothes and shoes, take a deep breath, float in the water with your back slightly bent, remove your clothes and shoes, and finally swim to the surface.
During flooding or when stranded
  • Hold onto something that floats, and avoid being carried into drainage channels or waterways.
  • Stay in the center of the road and move in the opposite direction of the flooding.
  • Maintain a normal body temperature and refrain from strenuous escape efforts.
  • Create an SOS signal to summon help using every possible means (e.g., with clothes or fire).
  • If possible, listen to the radio to help cope with the situation.
When taking a boat
  • When getting in a boat, fix the boat to a dock or the riverside, hold the sides of the boat with both hands at the back of the boat, then slowly move the feet toward the boat’s floor.
  • Strive for good balance when moving inside the boat.
  • When getting out of the boat, ensure that the back leg does not push the boat out into the water.
  • If you fall into the water, immediately come up to the surface to hold onto the boat, rest for a moment, return to the back of the boat, and lift up the body forcefully, starting with the upper body.
  • All who board the boat must wear a life jacket.
When selecting a campsite in a valley or ravine
  • Campsites should be located higher than the highest creek bed; campers should secure an area of high ground and a clearway for possible evacuation. The location should not present any risk of landslides or rockslides. ※ If a swimming accident or a safety incident occurs, contact 119 (marine 122) or 1588-3650 immediately.
  • Behavior according to swimming situationBehavior according to swimming situation
When swimming in the tidal flats
  • When there is an access road for fishermen to enter the tidal flats, use the access road, and do not enter through some point far from an access road.
  • When there is a tidal channel in the mudflats, do not cross the channel. Since the channel is the first thing to fill up when the tide comes in, the water becomes deep and you may not be able to get across again. Do not go near the mudflats around the channel because it is filled with a lot of water.
  • Children and the elderly should not go on the tidal flats alone.
  • If your feet become deeply embedded in the mudflats, lie facedown in the opposite direction and crawl out, and then seek help from a guide. In an emergency, contact 119.
  • Do not go barefoot into the tidal flats. Wear boots, or if wearing sandals, put on socks. Sharp seashells are stuck in the mudflats and may cause severe injuries to bare feet.
  • When going to the tidal flats, wear long sleeves if possible, and put on a floppy hat for UV protection, apply sunscreen to prevent sunburn, and bring drinking water to prevent dehydration.
  • If a dense fog suddenly develops when you are on the tidal flats, get away immediately regardless of the status of the tide. If you lose your way, observe the wavy lines created in the surface of the mudflats by the tide, and move in the direction perpendicular to the more gently sloping side of these wavy forms. Finally, head toward the land.