"Summertime Fun and Cautions"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Friday, August 11, 2017

Taking a trip? Driving down the road? Headed to the beach with the family?

As I see it, it’s time to get out and enjoy the summer — it’s slipping away quickly. No matter what plans you make however, it’s wise to consider any problems that could be encountered.

If you’re driving, make sure your tires are properly inflated, including the spare. Throw in a can of “fix-a-flat” — it could come in handy and takes little room. Make sure you have your jack or if you are not the do-it-yourself type, check your wallet for your road service card.

Are you headed out to one of the many beaches in our area?

Make sure any toys you plan to use are safe. It’s not wise to let the younger kids play with beach balls in the water or drift on an inflatable mattress. Any inflatable item can be hazardous, especially if a breeze comes up. A volleyball and makeshift net on the beach can provide lots of fun for all.

Games like cornhole or catch can be played in the sand and it’s fairly easy to avoid landing in the water. Everyone will probably agree, it’s much easier to keep track of kids if they are not in the water.

If one of the youngsters switches toys, make sure the one they have grown tired of is placed in your vehicle or a storage container you brought along. You do not want it to roll or be blown into the water and be carried offshore. Styrofoam coolers also can be troublesome near the shoreline. A small puff of wind can blow the cover off and out into the water. Youngsters may try swimming out to recover it and wind up further offshore than they are capable of swimming back.

A few years ago, I was returning to port with my charter boat when I encountered a large, inflated beach toy. We were a few miles offshore and decided we should take it aboard so no one would become concerned about it. As we began to lift it into the boat, we were very surprised to see a small child tucked in the center of it. The youngster was shaking and very frightened. Had we not come along he would have continued to be blown offshore and perhaps not be rescued. When we later located his parents, they were frightened but also very grateful.

If you plan to allow children to snorkel, it’s a good time to introduce them to a life jacket. Teach them how to put it on and fasten it securely. Make them aware they should wear one anytime they are involved in an activity where they are not in shallow water with their feet firmly on the sand. Be sure they wear their lifejackets if they go out in the family’s boat or with another group on their boat.

Another fun thing to do in the summertime is stop for an ice cream cone. The Tribune often carries a full page ad describing all the places to find one. A couple things to be aware of is to hold onto the little ones because when they spot the place, they will dart out and there could be traffic on the road. It’s wise to limit the size they order also. I learned by experience if you let them get in the car with the cones, a real mess can occur. Try to select a location that provides a picnic table to sit at and try to clean that up before you depart, it will be much easier than cleaning your car.

Picnics are at the top of summer’s to-do list. Hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad and marshmallows for when the fire burns low. Once again, think safety. If young children are in your group, watch them closely around the fire pit. Make sure they use a long stick, and let’s hope you have lots of wipes on hand because they will get the gooey marshmallow all over themselves. If you bring your pets along, remember their water bowl and clean up baggies in case they fill up on stolen dogs and get the urge. If you picnicked at a roadside location or in one of the day use parks, be sure to dispose of all your trash. Most places have receptacles but just in case, take along a few garbage bags to carry the remains home if need be. The next family that choses the spot you used will appreciate your effort to make it tidy for their use.

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