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Official Website of the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation

Top 10 Tips To Stay Water Safe in NY

Be WaterSafe

graphic of a lifeguard station at the beach

New York City is surrounded by 520 miles of water. We want you to stay safe near and in the water, and also to have fun! Here are our ten favorite tips to help you enjoy our city's waterfront.

1) Lifeguards Keep Us Safe

Lifeguards are there for your protection, so only swim where lifeguards are present, follow directions, and always swim with a buddy, friend, or parent.

2) Learn to Swim

It’s never too early—or too late—to learn to swim! Learn about free and low-cost swim lessons by visiting our Learn to Swim page.

3) Never Leave Children Unattended

Teach children the importance of water safety and stay within arm’s reach while swimming. Never leave children unattended near water, even when lifeguards are present.

4) Obey All Posted Signs and Flags

Read all signs and follow the directions of lifeguards. Swimming is only permitted in designated areas and never allowed when a red flag is posted at the beach.

5) Watch for Dangerous Waves and Rip Currents

If you are caught in a rip current, do not panic. Stay calm and swim parallel to the shore. Once away from the current, return to the beach.

6) Stay Alert and Aware of Your Surroundings

Be careful not to swim tired, cold, or far from safety,and never use alcohol while swimming, boating, or supervising children near water.

7) Wear a Life Jacket when Boating

Even expert swimmers should wear a life jacket while boating. Never use air-filled or foam beach toys instead of a life jacket.

8) Don’t Take Unnecessary Risks

Never go wading unless swimming is permitted and be cautious of deep water. The first time you enter the water, ease in or walk in — do not jump or dive.

9) Be Safe in the Sun

When at the beach, pool, or park this summer, wear sun screen, drink plenty of fluids, and wear light and loose-fitting clothing to stay cool.

10) Know Before You Go

Check weather conditions and get real-time beach opening and water quality information by visiting the Health Department's Beaches page.

Resources for Educators and Organizations

Want to take these tips with you, or print them out and post them in a prominent location? No problem! You can download our Top 10 Tips, (in Spanish; Chinese) or our full-color poster,(in Spanish; Chinese) and display them prominently in your school or organization.

Rip Currents

Rip currents are powerful channels of water flowing quickly away from shore, which occur most often at low spots or breaks in the sandbar and in the vicinity of structures such as groins, jetties and piers. All beachgoers should only swim in areas monitored by lifeguards, closely heed the instructions of lifeguards, and pay attention to any flags and posted signs.

In the event that one becomes caught in rip current, they should not panic. Rather, remain calm and begin to swim parallel to shore.  Once away from the force of the rip current, they can swim back to the beach.  One must not attempt to swim directly against a rip current - even a strong swimmer can become exhausted quickly.

To learn more about rip currents, read safety tips and information provided by the National Weather Service.

Corporate Partner

Be WaterSafe is brought to you with the generous support of Modell's Sporting Goods.

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