Safety at Lakes, Oceans, Rivers, etc.

Lakes, rivers, oceans, and other natural bodies of water have many inherent hazards often overlooked by the general public. Areas not designated for recreation (swimming, boating, etc.) can be especially dangerous since they are untested and unimproved and may hide such hazards as:

  • Contamination
  • Currents
  • Dams
  • Dangerous aquatic plants and animals
  • Drains and sewer systems
  • Murky water
  • No lifeguard service
  • Obstructions
  • Rising and falling water levels
  • Unknown bottom conditions
  • Waves and seiches

The best way to avoid such hazards is to restrict activities to areas that have been selected and prepared for recreational activities.

Arroyos, Canals, Ditches, Flood Water

Beaches, Oceans, Great Lakes



Longshore current

Marine life

Piers and jetties

Rip currents

Rocks and reefs

Sand and Sandbars


Winds and floats


The purposes of a dam are to impound water for a variety of reasons, including to add to the human or livestock water supply, to provide irrigation, to generate energy, to provide flood control, to create a recreational area, etc. There are 85,000 dams in the US, as few as 85 in Delaware and more than 7,000 in Texas. Most states have over 1,000. The average age of a US dam is 53 years old.

Lakes, Ponds, Etc.

A lake is an inland body of standing water. A small lake is called a pond. Similar bodies of water include estuaries, lagoons, pools, and quarries.