Survive spring break: 10 tips for outbound college students

Spring breakers frolic for photographs during Spring Break at Daytona Beach, Fla., on Wednesday, March 10, 2010. (Stephen Dowell / B58336730z.1)
Spring breakers frolic for photographs during Spring Break at Daytona Beach, Fla., on Wednesday, March 10, 2010. (Stephen Dowell / B58336730z.1)

WATER SPORTS — With 3.7 million college students getting ready for a well-earned spring break, history tells us some of them will get hurt or killed, especially around water.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers offer these Top 10 tips to help you avoid being a statistic on a lake, stream or ocean.

No. 10: HELP (Heat Escape Lessening Position) can save your life in cold water. This position is where your knees are drawn up to your chest with your arms grasping them together helping retain body temperature until you are rescued. Wet clothing will not weigh you down in the water because water does not weigh more than water, so leave your clothes on.
No. 9: Diving could be a neck-breaking experience; never dive into unknown waters.
No. 8: Any beach that has breaking waves could have the potential to develop rip currents near the shore that can pull even the strongest swimmers out to sea.If you get caught in one of these narrow rip currents, swim parallel to shore until the current stops pushing you out.
No. 7: Never overestimate your swimming abilities, especially in open waters.
No 6: Swim only in designated areas.
No. 5: Never swim alone.
No. 4: Swim and boat sober.
No. 3: If you are boating, wear a life jacket even if you know how to swim and don’t expect to enter the water.
No. 2: Choose the right life jacket for you and wear it. The new inflatable life jackets are lightweight and the belt-pack style of inflatable life jacket will still allow you to get a great tan.
The No. 1: tip that could mean the difference between life and death during your spring break: Don’t let anyone talk you into anything that you don’t want to do. Peer pressure can kill you.

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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog

Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.

By Rich Landers richl@spokesman.com (509) 459-5508

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