Whether you're taking a dive in a public swimming pool or a local river, spending time in the water can be fun. But not knowing the differences between the two can carry deadly consequences.
Jeffrey Rout, with Greater Augusta Swimming, explains those differences. He says,”the biggest difference between open water or outside lake swimming, river swimming, ocean swimming are the currents and the weather.”
Rout says currents in open water like rivers and lakes can carry an additional wave of risks
“You might have an upper layer of water that might be still, but three feet underwater, you might have a current going. In the case of the oceans, an undertow is usually pulling you out to sea,” he adds.
Sometimes sweeping swimmers yards from where they started. Rout says what happens next can determine whether the swimmer sinks or swims. He says, if you find yourself being pulled by an undertow, don't fight and do not panic.
He says, “if you are not a strong swimmer or a very accomplished swimmer, fighting an undertow is just going to result in tiring you out and a lot of times that ends up in very tragic circumstances.”
Rout believes swimming is a skill that needs to be practiced. While currents are not a factor in pools, Rout says your skill level can play a role in your safety in the pool as well as open water.
“In reality, if you cannot tread water for at least 30 minutes and you cannot swim 800 yards/800 meters — approximately half a mile straight, you're not really an accomplished swimmer,” he says.
Rout says swimming lessons at one of the local pools can ensure that you have the 'know-how' to keep yourself safe and calm either the pool or the lake.