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Ways to be safe while swimming this summer

The Centers for Disease Control reports that about 10 people die from drowning in non-boating related accidents every year. 

Summer is almost here, when most people like to do their swimming.  News Channel 3 went to Healthsport in Arcata to find out some tips for staying safe in the water this summer.

"It's beautiful weather around here, with the rivers and oceans.  So it's a great opportunity to get out and swim.  It's something I've done my whole life so I definitely enjoy it," said Patrick Fromherz, an Arcata resident.

"The number one piece of advice for you is learn how to swim.  So practice those skills, be in the water on a regular basis.  Have your children swimming regularly, even all winter long at indoor pools, so that when it comes time to go play at a river or in a lake, they're comfortable in the water and know what to expect," said Samm Sinn, the Lifeguard Manager and the Youth Service Lead at the Eureka and Arcata Healthsport locations.

Sinn says swimming somewhere where a lifeguard is on duty is ideal.  However, he says to remember this information if you are swimming in a river.

“The use of a safety device, such as a life jacket, is key.  Often times, rivers are very strong and currents can be powerful,” said Sinn.

He says if you feel yourself starting to panic…

“The best option is to float on your back and relax, and when you feel like you've regained confidence in your energy, try to swim again," Sinn said.

He says for parents witnessing their child in distress…

“It's possible for your child to pull you under as well.  So being prepared with some sort of a flotation device, a rescue tube, you can use a cooler that maybe you were keeping your food refrigerated in while you're at the river.  Grab that cooler and use that as a flotation device to help take action," said Sinn.

Sinn also says to make sure water is at least 10 feet deep before diving head first.

"Feet first is definitely the safest option every time, especially at a river or at a lake in an outdoor setting.  A pool, you can be sure there's not any rocks or other hazards under the water, but if you are at a pool, you do need to look out for other people," Sinn said.

He also says knowing first aid and basic CPR are important preparations before going swimming.  And if you’re going to the pool, remember to walk, and never run.