People go abroad for all sorts of reasons – to relax in the sun, to work, or to ski on the slopes, for example. Some people travel for adventure – and seas, lakes and rivers provide plenty of activities for those who love spending time on the water. Canoeing, white water rafting, kayaking, fishing, surfing, sailing, diving, windsurfing, and traditional swimming.

The options are endless.

Whatever you take to the waters to take part in, there are some things to bear in mind. We’ve gathered six important things to remember.

Check them out:

1. Stick to your ability

If you’re new to a sport, don’t be too ambitious or exaggerate your abilities. Each water sport is different to another, and requires a different set of skills. So make sure you stick to activities at your skill level and work your way up.

2. It can be risky

There are numerous common injuries associated with water sports, making it important to check your travel insurance covers you. These risks include muscle strain, bruising, cuts, head injuries, concussion and broken bones. You could need medical attention if you experience an accident, emphasising the importance of insurance.

3. Listen to the instructors

If the person in charge tells you to wear a life jacket or PFD, put one on. If they tell you to wait for further instructions, wait. They’re the experts – not you. Make everyone’s lives easier by following guidelines. After all, everyone just wants to have fun on the water. Once the safety instructions are out of the way, you can enjoy yourself.

4. Tell people where you’re going

If you’re more experienced, and decide to go out alone, make sure you tell somewhere where you’re going and roughly how long you’ll be. The water can be a dangerous place and it’s best practice to let someone know – whether you’re swimming, surfing or anything else.

5. Find out what local flags/signs mean

Beaches around the world will use flags to mark out places to safe places to swim, and dedicated areas for water sports. Make sure you find out what the different flags mean.

Here’s a brief guide:

• Red and yellow flags: These flags mark out the safest place to swim or to use a body-board and inflatables. Bear in mind they’ll move as conditions change.

• Black and white flags: Mark out areas that are specifically for swimmers – they are there to point out no-surf zones in Australia, for example. But in the UK and US, they mean the opposite. Here, they indicate water areas for watersports. It’s important specific country guidelines before heading to the water.

• Orange windsock: When an orange windsock is flying, it shows there are offshore winds – making it dangerous to use an inflatable, for example.

• Red flag: Indicates that the current sea conditions are too dangerous to swim in.

Around the world different countries also use different signs on rivers. These can indicate tough whitewater or a dangerous weir or waterfall. Local guidebooks and sources online can give you valuable information.

6. It’s great fun

At the end of the day, getting involved in water sports is a great way to spend your time abroad. Some of the best water-based activity holidays include freediving in Mexico, sea kayaking in Scotland, or snorkelling with sperm whales. Make the most of your time away and get involved in something great.

What water sports have you tried abroad? Share your experiences with us.