NATIONAL REPORT—The well-known benefits of being in and around water have been supported by scientific research, confirming that taking a vacation by a lake can increase general wellbeing while lowering stress levels. After a year of uncertainty and restrictions, vacationers are looking for outdoor space and a greater connection to nature, and, as a result, the enduring popularity of lakefront hotels, lodges and campsites shows no sign of fading. A weekend getaway or a longer lakeside stay offers the opportunity to relax and cool off with a swim, or take part in activities on the water such as boating or water skiing. However, enjoyment of these pastimes depends on the water being safe, clean, and healthy. With respect for the dangers of the water, as well as its delicate ecosystems, these activities can be enjoyed safely and with minimum environmental impact.
Reducing the Risk of Drowning
Although very young children are at greater risk around swimming pools, teenagers and older adults are more likely to drown in natural water settings such as lakes. Adequate supervision of water activities is important for all ages, and lake resorts that provide lifeguards and ensure that all recreational boat users are wearing life jackets correctly could save lives. According to the latest statistics from the US Coast Guard, drowning caused 79 percent of all fatal boating accidents in 2019, and over 85 percent of victims weren’t wearing a life jacket.
Avoiding Injury & Illness
Swimming in open water such as quarries, lakes and reservoirs can also be dangerous. As well as unfamiliar features causing injury, open water can also harbor harmful bacteria and other pathogens that can be linked to 90 million illnesses in the United States every year. It can be much safer and more relaxing for guests to swim and sail in specially designated areas where the layout is more familiar and medical help is quickly available if needed.
Keeping Lakes Clear of Pollution
As well as reducing the environmental impact on delicate ecosystems, keeping lakes clear of pollution can help to make them a safer place to swim. Every year, 10,000 tons of plastic enters the Great Lakes, and last summer, a cleanup of Nevada’s Lake Tahoe by volunteer scuba divers removed 9,000 pounds of litter from the water.
Microplastic pollution may come from storm water runoff or water treatment plants, but most of the plastic is litter thrown directly in the water by people on the shore and on boats. For everyday management of the environment, encouraging recycling by both staff and guests at lakeside lodges is the best way to prevent litter from entering the water. By carrying out a waste audit, management can identify problem areas within a resort, and implement an appropriate recycling program to keep the site and local environment safe and clean.
Lakeside resorts and lodges are a popular choice for many holidaymakers, as they offer a wide variety of recreational water activities. By implementing safety measures and encouraging all users to keep the lake clean and healthy, vacationers can relax and enjoy activities safely without impacting on the local environment.