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Swim safety

Swimming in pools or in lakes, rivers, and ponds is a fun physical activity. But, if proper safety measures are not in place, swimming can also be dangerous. Drowning is preventable by taking the necessary precautions and following these safety tips.

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Toxic algae in King County Lakes: Due to toxic algae blooms, Public Health recommends that humans and pets stay away from the water in King County lakes where algae is visible. Follow all posted guidance at parks at beaches. If your pet goes in or near the water at a King County lake, we recommend monitoring them for these symptoms: low energy, not eating, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, or seizures. Symptoms will typically occur within minutes to hours after exposure. If your pet becomes ill, call your veterinarian immediately.

Read more in our latest news release.

Know the water

  • What is the temperature? Washington lakes and rivers are cold enough to cause hypothermia, even in the summer.
  • Always check the water conditions before swimming, boating, or joining in any water activities.
  • Do not dive or jump into unknown water.

Know your limits

  • Learn to float, tread water, and swim.
  • Swim in lifeguarded areas.
  • Always watch children closely when they are in or near any type of water.
  • Do not swim during or after drinking alcohol.

Wear a life jacket

Learn to swim

Learning how to swim is an important tool for water safety and drowning prevention. King County Parks offers swim lessons at the Weyerhauser King County Aquatic Center.

Benefits of swimming in a lifeguarded area

A majority of drownings occur at unguarded locations each year. Lifeguards are an important part of the following safety measures.

  • Restricting swimming areas

  • Posting warning signs

  • Fencing the perimeters of pools and waterways