Wear a PFD (personal flotation device)! It will significantly reduce your risk of drowning, if you fall in the water;
Be prepared! Bring equipment, such as extra rope and fuel, and a communications device;
Inform someone of your float plan (where you're going and when you plan to return). That person will be able to notify search and rescue authorities and provide helpful search information, if you're overdue.
And if you fall into the water, don't panic. Remember the 1-10-1 rule:
1: For the first minute, you will experience a cold shock response: regain control of your breathing during this period;
10: After 10 minutes, you will slowly lose the use of your hands and legs: use this time to rescue yourself;
1: It takes about an hour before you will fall unconscious because of hypothermia.
"You will be in shock if you fall into cold water; a shock that can last up to a minute," explains Craig Lingard, Coordinator of the KRG Civil Security Section. "Wearing a PFD will give you time to breathe and regain control during that crucial first minute."
Plan accordingly and enjoy the water safely!