It is also crucial to teach children that swimming in open water is different than swimming in pools. Changes in depths, currents, uneven ground, and even possible encounters with sealife should all be thoroughly discussed before entering the waters. Imagine what would happen if your young child sees a jellyfish for the first, and they did not know of its sting. Do you think they would grab for it? Also, get in the water with your children and make sure they know how cold it is, how good or bad the visibility is and practice having them float on their back until you are both comfortable with their skill level.
Weak swimmers and young children should always be required to wear a life vest when they are in or on open waters. These times include any trips on boats, jet-skis, or any other type of watercraft. Make sure that your children know what to expect if the worst case scenario happens, and for some reason, they fall off. Now is not the time you want them to panic. You will want them to know how cold the water is, what type of visibility they will experience and that the more they relax, the easier it will be for them to float on top of the water and have confidence that you are coming for them.