As pool and beach season gets underway safety experts remind water lovers not to have a false sense of security because a lifeguard is on duty or because they know how to swim.
The World Congress on Drowning states that an estimated 66% of the more than 360,000 people who drown worldwide each year knew how to swim, said Dave Benjamin, executive director of the nonprofit Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project (www.glsrp.org).
People who know how to swim assume that means they can’t drown, Benjamin said.
That explains why people take risks, such as swimming alone or beyond their physical capability, and why so often would-be rescuers become drowning victims, he said.
As beaches and pools open for the season, he reminds patrons that in June beach water is cold and visitors likely haven’t been swimming for months.
“Their swimming endurance may be down,” even if their confidence is not, he said.
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