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Water Safety Essentials

PDF: English 

Learn to swim and learn about water safety – it’s never too late! Classes in water safety, swim instruction, and First Aid/CPR are offered by many organizations, including:

·         LAUSD Beyond the Bell Branch (213) 241-7900   FREE swim classes

·         American Red Cross - Los Angeles (310) 445-9900

·         YMCA of Metro Los Angeles

·         County and City parks and recreation departments

Three steps to save a life.


  • Check the scene for safety
  • Check the victim for consciousness, breathing, signs of life and severe bleeding


  • Notify a lifeguard or
  • Call 9-1-1


  • Care for conditions you find
  • Stay with the victim


Reach or Throw... Don’t Go!

Even if you have not yet learned to swim, you can still help someone who is in trouble in the water:


■ Get into a stride position with knees bent.

■  Step on your end of the line with your foot forward.

■ Throw flotation device just beyond the victim, but within reach; allow for wind or current to bring it back to the victim.

■ When the victim has the flotation device in hand, lean back from the victim and slowly pull to safety.


■ Brace yourself. Consider lying on your stomach to keep from being pulled in.

■ Reach with your arm to the victim or extend an object.

■ When the victim grasps your arm or the device, lean back from the victim and slowly pull to safety.

Oceans and Beaches

■ Check the surf conditions before you enter the water.

■ When in the water, stay away from piers, pilings, and diving platforms.

■ If caught in a current, don’t try to swim against it; swim parallel and gradually angle towards shore.

■ Stay within designated swimming areas, ideally in front of a lifeguard stand.

■ Keep a lookout for any marine life.

■ Make sure you always have enough energy to swim back to shore

River/Creek Channels and Storm Drains

■ Never play in or around flood channels; sides are very steep and slippery, making it difficult to get out.

■  A few inches of moving water can sweep a person away quickly.

■ Avoid drainage ditches and arroyos.


Before Getting in the Water:

Choose a safe place for water recreation. Be aware of any water hazards.

Use Coast Guard-approved life jackets when boating.

Check local weather conditions and be prepared for potential weather problems.

Remember important safety equipment and look for it in a public swimming area: pole or shepherd’s crook, rescue tube, buoy, throw bag, heavy jug or throw line.

Know how to prevent, recognize and care for heat emergencies.

When Swimming:

Always swim with someone.

Supervise children who are swimming or are playing near a pool or other water source.

Swim only in supervised areas.

Do not go swimming if you have been drinking alcohol. Under the influence of drugs or alcohol

Do not chew gum or eat while swimming.

Enter feet first if you do not know the depth of the water.

Know your swimming limits and stay within them.

Keep an eye on weaker swimmers.

Learn the correct way to dive safely.

Watch out for the “dangerous toos”

Too tired

Too cold

Too far from safety

Too much sun

Too much hard playing



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