Hit the water with extra caution

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 16, 2005

As Suffolk made national news this week for having the highest heat index in the country, more people hit the water.

At the local YMCA pool alone, it was clearly evident Wednesday that school was out. Children and adults were found dashing in the water at full force.

Unfortunately, the onset of the carefree days of summer brings on the sad stories, such as the drowning of an 18-year-old in Chesapeake this week. This alone is a reason for caution.

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Water enthusiasts, especially children and teens, should be encouraged to swim only in guarded pools and beaches. Also, parents should utilize the summer to enroll their children in swimming classes, if they are not yet skilled swimmers. Adults should also take swimming lessons if they’re not 100 percent comfortable in the water.

The YMCA is currently offering classes.

You can never be too safe.

To further ensure the safety of adults and children in the water this summer, the Suffolk chapter of the American Red Cross is sponsoring Water Safety Day on Friday, June 24 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Cypress Park Swimming Pool, located on Oregon and Arizona Avenue in the Hollywood community.

This free event is a must for parents and children. There are also other offerings during the day: KidCare IDs and blood pressure screenings will also be offered. Call 539-6645 for more information.

The last thing we want to do is report on another drowning. Boaters should also take precautions as they head to the water by checking conditions beforehand, wearing life jackets, and carrying emergency radios and cellular phones in a waterproof carry case.

Summer is definitely here and there’s no turning back now. But as we go forward, safety must remain the first priority.