Swim lessons a must in a river town

Temperatures in the 80s can mean only one thing – swimming weather. But safety has to be the top concern whether you are swimming in a pool or an area river or lake.

Just this week Marietta fire personnel had to rescue a swimmer attempting to swim the Ohio River. River temperatures are still quite cold, so swimmers and boaters need to keep that in mind when out on the water.

Even in an area bounded by two rivers, and with a variety of city and community pools at the ready, many people still do not know how to swim, according to The American Red Cross. That can be dangerous in an area such as ours. A recent survey by the Red Cross found more than half of all Americans either can’t swim or don’t possess basic swimming skills. An average of 10 people a day die from unintentional drowning.

Luckily, local pools and YMCAs offer a solution – swimming lessons. Experts say anyone can learn to swim, no matter what age. It’s best to teach kids to swim early, though, so they don’t develop a fear of the water.

Sometimes, knowing how to swim isn’t always enough. It’s important to use common sense, too. In addition to the temperature of the water, officials say, it’s important for people to be aware of potentially strong currents and other hazards, such as rocks, logs, dams and boats. Never swim alone and have safety devices, such as life jackets or floating cushions, available if needed.

We want everyone to have a safe, enjoyable summer. If you or a loved one doesn’t know how to swim, take action now and sign up for swimming lessons. You’ll have fun and learn potentially life-saving skills.