How to know if a river or lake is safe to swim in
To swim or not to swim, that is the question
Apr 16, 2018
The weather’s sizzling hot again, you can’t go outside without instantly regretting it. And it induces lethargy. It’s the summer vibe and it’s just making us long for lazy days near beaches or lakes where we can swim the heat away.
Luckily, the Philippines is blessed with various bodies of water. But before immersing yourself in rivers, lakes, waterfalls, and other freshwaters that aren’t privately maintained and guarded like beaches, be wary of the area first.
Survey the waters before hitting it and look if there are an excessive amount of algae surrounding it. Still lakes and slow-moving rivers are susceptible to algae build up. Small amounts of it aren’t harmful, though, so just avoid certain areas. Also, think twice before plunging into murky waters.
Current and riptide
Be careful of currents that are faster than you can swim. Evaluate how wild the flow of the water is, as well as your swimming abilities, as currents can overpower you. Throw a stick to see how fast the water is moving. See if there are dangerous hazards nearby like slippery rocks, waterfalls, and dams.
For the riptide or that dangerously strong current caused by tidal flow, one way to detect it in beaches is when you see rubbles like seaweed and foam getting pulled away from the shore, out into the wide ocean.
Tread the waters and know how deep it can be before swimming away from the safe zones and diving. You can ask the locals in the area for this information. Don’t dive if it’s too shallow—a safe depth is at least nine feet. Jump in foot first until you know for sure, as water can appear deeper than it actually is.
Surrounding area of the water
Avoid waterbodies that are near pastures and farmlands as there’s a high chance that it’s contaminated with icky and dangerous fecal matter. I’m shuddering just thinking about it.
Photos courtesy of Unsplash
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