Swimming at the Cottage – Dock and Water Safety

A couple of years ago, I stayed at a cottage rental with some family and a few close friends. One of the guests couldn’t arrive until after dark due to his hectic work schedule. He arrived around 9:30PM. At this time, we had all unpacked and were enjoying some appetizers and drinks on the cottage deck, while watching the iconic Hip concert of August 2016.

As soon as he pulled in the drive, he jumped out of his car and made a beeline for the dock. He dove in, head first. Please keep in mind, he had never been to this property before, had never been on this part of this particular lake and hadn’t asked anyone about the depth of the water at the shoreline/end of the dock before jumping in. He was simply excited to finally be at the cottage and on holidays. The water was only 4 ½ feet deep.

Thankfully, he was ok. However, he did hurt his neck and back which made for an uncomfortable holiday for him.

This cottage owner made it very clear in their Cottage Guide that the water at the shoreline and dock was shallow and even had a “no diving” sign on the dock.

Here’s some general guidelines to follow before you take a leap:

  • Don’t dive or jump off any dock unless you have fully checked out the depth and for any submerged hazards.
  • Check-out the shoreline and dock area before dark; when arriving late, don’t go near the waterfront until the next morning.
  • Read the cottage guide for waterfront information.
  • Always supervise children and pets outdoors/near water.
  • Don’t swim alone (either swim with someone or have them outside available to help in an emergency).
  • Always swim sober. While a few drinks on the dock are enticing, they will also alter your reaction time in the water and that’s a place you definitely don’t want to be disoriented.

CottageLINK Rental Management
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