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Surviving Swim Season

The rules are simple; follow them

The rules seem simple enough for anyone to grasp:

  • Wear your life vest while you’re boating.
  • Learn to swim.
  • Swim near a lifeguard; don’t go swimming alone.
  • Don’t go swimming after you’ve been drinking.
  • Remember, the river is stronger than you are; check water conditions and swim with the current.

No matter how simple these common-sense rules are, though, they are not enough. The return of hot weather has brought the return of news stories about drowning deaths. As is always the case, most of these deaths are utterly senseless.

It’s tempting to point the finger at government, to decry the budget cuts that have led to fewer life guards on duty at popular swimming spots.

But the reality is that the vast majority of drowning occur because people behave stupidly, either taking foolish risks themselves or failing to take adequate precautions with their children.

So, simple as they are, we’ll repeat them:

  • Wear your life vest while you’re boating.
  • Learn to swim.
  • Swim near a lifeguard; don’t go swimming alone.
  • Don’t go swimming after you’ve been drinking.
  • Remember, the river is stronger than you are; check water conditions and swim with the current.

That is all. You are now free to enjoy the summer.

Sacramento Bee Editorial, June 8, 2002