Water Safety

By: Ashley Edlund Email
By: Ashley Edlund Email
Summer is the time to get out and have fun on the water, but it can end too fast if you aren

The scene at German Creek Marina in Bean Station, Tenn., on Wednesday, July 4, 2012, hours after one boy died and another was critically injured from an apparent electrocution at Cherokee Lake. Authorities said it was uncertain whether the boys were electrocuted in the water or when they touched the metal ladder of one of the houseboats. (Saul Young,AP Photo/Knoxville News Sentinel)

You've probably ‘looked before you leaped.’

But do you 'check before you dive in?’

Park Rangers at Walter F. George Lake say that doesn't happen enough.

William Hancock said, “There's all kinds of obscure underwater obstacles that you can't see. Always, if you're going to jump off the bank, get out and check the water and know what's in it before you make that plunge.”

And those obstacles could mess up much more than your fun day on the water.

Last year alone, 197 drownings happened at lakes maintained by the corps of engineers.

And officials say it happens too often, especially when swimmers ignore the warning signs

Regional Land and Water Rescue President Mike Cherry said, “Designated swimming areas have the buoys around and have pretty much been cleared of debris.”

Going past them isn't a small gamble. The ground after those markers can move around and take you under.

Hancock said, “When you get outside of that designated swimming area it's a natural lake bottom so it may fluctuate anywhere from 10 to 15 to 20 feet at any given time.”

Another way to stay safe? Always have a life jacket.

Hancock said, “We have lifejackets that we will loan at certain stations in case you do not have one and you come to our park to swim and don't know how to swim.”

But it has to fit.

Hancock said, “If you do not have one on that fits it's just as good as not having one.”

Having one and knowing the rules, so you can keep your head above water

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