Safety first this summer at state parks

California State Parks wants visitors to enjoy their time by keeping their loved ones safe.

About 10 people die from unintentional drownings every day, but this can be prevented by learning water safety as well as following these tips:

Wear a life jacket that is U.S. Coast Guard-approved and fits properly.

Know your limits. Swimming in a lake, ocean or river is different than swimming in a pool. If someone is in distress, seek help from a lifeguard or call 9-1-1 if one is not available. Supervise children at all times by appointing a designated “water watcher,” taking turns with other adults. Do not assume that someone is watching them.

Do not enter the water if it is too cold. Waterways continue to rise as snow melts and can be dangerously cold and swift. Even the strongest swimmers can be stunned by cold water and become incapacitated.

Ocean rip currents. If you get caught in one, stay calm and do not fight the current. Swim or float parallel to the shore until you are out of the current and then swim toward the shore.

Avoid alcohol. Impaired boaters will be stopped and can be arrested. The boat can be impounded.

Know the rules/laws. Take the time to visit the web page of the park you plan to visit and learn about the rules. Also learn the laws for recreating in boats and off-highway vehicles.

Prepare an itinerary. Leave an itinerary of the trip, including expected return date, with a family member or friend. In the event of a rescue, law enforcement personnel will have a better understanding of your location.

Natural resources. Stay on designated trails to ensure you do not get lost.

Use the buddy system. Hike or swim with a friend or family member. Buddies can seek help if you need medical attention.

Wildlife. View wildlife from a distance. Never feed or touch them. Be cautious of where you are stepping. If you see a snake, maintain a distance of 6 feet.

For more safety tips and laws, go to