Swimming and other water-based activities are fun and healthy ways to be physically active. However, like any physical activity, there are potential risks involved. The Safe Swimming page provides information on how to have healthy and safe swimming experiences that maximize the benefits of swimming while minimizing the risk of illness and injury.
Steps for Healthy Swimming
We all share the water we swim in. That means each of us needs to do our part to help keep ourselves, our families, and our friends healthy. To help protect yourself and those you care about, here are a few easy and effective steps all swimmers can take each time we swim, play, or relax in the water.
Drowning, Injury, and Sun Protection
Before going to the beach, visiting the pool, launching your boat, or heading out into the sun, it’s important to understand how to avoid injuries and protect yourself from the sun. The resources listed on this page will help you learn how to protect yourself and your family from these public health issues.
Visiting Oceans, Lakes, and Rivers
Spending time in natural bodies of water—like oceans, lakes, and rivers—is a great way to enjoy the outdoors with family and friends. While this can help you stay active, it is important to know that the water we swim, play, wade, and relax in can also spread germs and make you, and those you care about, sick.
Germs found in the water and sand (swim area) often come from human or animal feces (poop). One way germs can be carried into swim areas is by heavy rain. Water from heavy rain picks up anything it comes in contact with (for example, poop from where animals live) and can drain into swim areas. These germs can also come from humans or animals pooping in or near the water.
Water contaminated with these germs can make you sick if you swallow it. It can also cause an infection if you get into the water with an open cut or wound (especially from a surgery or piercing).
Taking a few simple steps when you visit oceans, lakes, rivers, and other natural bodies of water can help protect everyone from these germs.
- SPLASH! / Wear it! - Anti-drowning & Safe Boating Campaigns (Georgia Department of Natural resources)
- Water Safety Digital Toolkit (Children's Healthcare of Atlanta)
- Healthy Swimming (CDC)
Page updated 7/24/2023