Well, it’s happened again! Recently, the media reported three drownings in the state of Georgia. There were two in the metro Atlanta area and one in our backyard at Lake Blackshear. I am not aware of the circumstances involved in either of these tragic events, but it does call attention to the need for improved water safety awareness and swimming in our community.
As temperatures increase, we begin to seek out bodies of water for recreation and relaxation. The abundance of lakes, ponds, pools and rivers in our area, combined with the vast number of people in our area that have no basic swimming skills, creates a recipe for disaster. If history is any indication, these unfortunate and preventable circumstances will be repeated over the course of the summer.
Don’t let a good time have a catastrophic ending. Please put aside any fears of the water you may have and seek out the YMCA, the Recreation Department, the Boys and Girls Club, the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts or any organization that teaches swimming skills. All are getting geared up for the summer and will offer learn-to-swim programs for youth and adults. If money is an issue, many organizations provide some sort of financial assistance to help cover the cost of swim instruction.
So, there is no excuse due to lack of opportunities to learn to be safe around the water. An individual is never too young or too old to learn to swim. In addition to learning a potential life saving skill, you may also find that swimming can be a lifetime activity and is an excellent way to improve both the quality and quantity of life.
Make that call today. It’s never too late to get started in making a commitment to be safe around the water.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Dave Wallace is executive director of the Albany Area YMCA.