5 Tips for How to Stay Safe and Healthy on the Lake this Summer

West Virginia is home to many beautiful lakes that are the perfect summer getaway for residents and visitors alike — there are a few easy steps you can take to make sure your experience is as safe and fun as possible.


Before leaving for a day on the lake, or for a camping trip, tell a friend or family member where you will be going, and for how long. A quick text message to a loved one with the details of your plans can be helpful in case of an emergency.


West Virginia state law prohibits children under the age of 12 from driving a boat, and people ages 12 to 14 from driving without adult supervision.

Individuals who are permitted to operate a boat or supervise a younger person who is driving, and were born after December 31, 1986, must carry a boater education card to do so legally.

Boat passengers aged 12 and under are legally required to wear a life jacket at all times, however, every person on a boat should wear a lifejacket to stay safe.


One of the most tried-and-true ways to stay safe and healthy in any situation is being prepared. Over the summer, periodically apply sunscreen to prevent getting burned. When you’re enjoying a fun day on the lake, you should also use insect repellant. Quality bug spray will keep ticks and mosquitos, and the diseases they carry, away from you and your family. You should always keep a first aid kit with you as well, to treat any injuries, bites, or rashes.

You can prevent the spread of recreational water illness just by showering before a swim, and by avoiding swimming when you are sick. These simple actions can help maintain a healthy environment for all swimmers.


It is critical to drink a lot of water during the hot summer months. If you’re enjoying a day on the lake, you should bring plenty of drinking water with you. Lake water is not safe to drink — but if you do not have enough drinking water, you can treat natural water sources by boiling it for at least one minute.


Poison ivy and poison oak commonly inhabit some of West Virginia’s remote swimming holes. Do your research on poisonous plants that are found in the area where you will be swimming or camping before embarking on your summer adventures.

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