Tips for a safe swim in Oswego Lake
Swimming season has arrived. As the weather warms, we are finding more people swimming, floating and playing in the open water (lake areas outside designated swim parks/areas). Whether you are a recreational swimmer going for a quick dip to cool down, or a competitive swimmer taking part in a training session, take these common-sense precautions to stay safe before swimming in open water.
- Wear a life jacket. When swimming, floating, or playing in open water, all recreational swimmers should wear a life jacket that fits you properly.
- Don’t swim alone. Unless you are in one of Oswego Lake’s designated swim parks/areas and there’s a life guard on duty, don’t swim by yourself. You should always have a buddy with you in open water.
- Stay inside the buoy lines. Always swim on the shoreside of the orange buoys. Keep in mind that you share this area with kayakers and paddle boarders. Importantly, boat traffic is not explicitly restricted in these areas as boats may enter the buoy lines to anchor or dock. Don’t assume you won’t encounter a boat here.
- Look out for boats. It’s important to remember how small you may look in the distance as a swimmer. Make sure you are on the lookout for boats and communicate with your fellow swimmers if a boat is approaching. It’s not worth assuming they will see you, so be vigilant.
- Wear bright colors. A swimmer blends in with the water more easily than one might expect. Wear bright colors for easy viewing – a bright orange swim cap or swim shirt – to ensure that you are more easily seen and to keep track of everyone.
- Tow a swim buoy. Gain extra security by having the floatation support of a swim buoy within arm’s reach and to increase your visibility to boats.
- Get your bearings. You won’t have a black line on the bottom of the lake to help you swim straight, so make sure you identify landmarks that can guide you, and look up often to check that you are on track.
- Know your resources. Before you enjoy our lake, make sure you know where key resources are in case of an emergency. Have the Oswego Lake Patrol number (503-810-5411) in your phone contacts and know where to find a first aid kit as well as any life-saving staff. The more you know, the safer you’ll be.