Water Safety Program

The Water Safety Program exists to reduce injury and loss of life in Humboldt County waterways. This is accomplished through public education, community outreach, life jacket loan stations and collaboration with the Water Safety Coalition of Northwestern California.
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Keep Water Recreation Fun and Safe


The Water Safety Coalition of Northwestern California is reminding everyone to put safety first while enjoying activities in and around water.

  • Learn CPR. Quick action can save a life.
  • Never leave a child unattended in or near water.
  • Taking part in formal swimming lessons reduces the risk of drowning among children ages 1 to 4 years old. Call Healthy Communities for a list of places that provide swimming lessons in Humboldt County.
  • Wearing a life vest during water activities is especially important for children. With Humboldt’s cold ocean and rivers, cold water paralysis can set in within minutes making swimming impossible.
  • Don’t drink alcohol before entering the water. Up to 70 percent of all recreational drownings involve alcohol, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • If you see someone in trouble in the water, call 911. Stay on the beach and direct rescuers. While attempting to rescue someone you could be putting yourself in danger.
At the beach:
  • Choose your beach wisely. Breaking waves on steep beaches can surprise and sweep an unwary beachgoer into the ocean. Flatter beaches are safer choices.
  • Avoid rocks and jetties. Large waves can strike with little or no warning.
  • Stay far back from the surf. Sneaker waves often reach into areas of dry sand.
  • Never enter the ocean to rescue a dog. Dogs swim much better than people and almost always get out on their own while human rescuers do not.
At the river:
  • Avoid swift currents. The current can deceive you with stronger, difficult to see currents below the surface. To reduce this danger, do not enter water deeper than your waist.
  • Beware of hazards below the surface of the water. Tree branches, rocks, and sunken objects are likely and can move during high flows. A location that was safe could be dangerous during your next visit.
At the pool:
  • Toys should be removed from pools and hot tubs so children do not attempt to retrieve them unsupervised.
  • Blow-up water toys and water wings are not approved swimming aids. Life vests are designed to keep a swimmer’s head above water.