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By Jace Piersol
Beaumont Centre Family YMCA
Summer is here and many are flocking to pools and beaches to escape the heat. While the water is cool and refreshing, it can be potentially life threatening to nonswimmers and swimmers alike given the wrong situation.
Here are just a few basic safety guidelines for various water activities:
• For children, the first safety precaution is to make sure they are supervised at all times.
• It’s always a good idea to swim with a companion. Even the best swimmers can encounter unexpected emergencies such as cramps, shallow water blackout, hypothermia, getting caught in weeds or anything else underwater, dangerous marine life, and dangerous currents around beaches or rivers.
• If you do choose to swim alone, make sure there is a lifeguard present and heed all posted flags and signs. Always listen to the lifeguards and trust their expertise and judgment.
• Never attempt to hold your breath for an extended period of time underwater, this could lead to shallow water black outs.
• Be aware of any dangerous marine life that might be in your area, including jellyfish, sting rays and sharks. If you are at a beach, flags and signs are posted alerting you to any dangerous marine life or rip currents.
• If you are in a boat, you must have some kind of coast guard approved life jacket with you or on you at all times.
• If you do not know how to swim or haven’t built up a lot of endurance, now may be the time to take swim lessons at a local Y.
Be careful and think wisely about what you are doing around the water to ensure a safe and fun-filled summer.