There are a lot of cheeky “summer survival guides” out there with tips on everything for making play dates for kids making “packable paleo recipes” for a picnic.
This isn’t that. This is about survival in the literal sense, not dying that is, on your next trip to Lake Tahoe.
Yes, the lake is an amazing place to escape the summer heat. But hitting the water also involves risk.
The risk, and how to reduce it, is what a coalition of conservation and public safety agencies want to highlight with approaching summer holidays.
When it comes to Lake Tahoe perhaps the easiest overlooked risk is water temperature. Water temperatures in the lake range from about 40 degrees during the height of winter to as warm as 70 degrees in August or September, after the lake has had a chance to warm in the sun.
That means if you’re on the lake in early to mid-summer the water is going to be cold enough to cause “cold water shock,” which is an involuntary gasp reflex caused by a sudden dip into cold water. The likelihood of shock is even greater when the air temperature is warm.
This increases the risk of drowning and there’s a simple way to reduce it. Wear a life jacket.
“If you get into trouble a life jacket will save your life,” said Nevada Department of Wildlife Chief Warden Tyler Turnipseed. “We’ve seen it over and over again, those fatal accidents can be avoided.”
While wearing a life jacket is the single-greatest choice to reduce risk, there are several other precautions people should take on the water.
Never swim alone.
Tell a friend or file a float plan before swimming, boating or paddling.
Check wind conditions before going on the water.
Know your swimming limitations.
Never operate a boat under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Never jump into cold water and always prepare for accidental immersion.