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Monday, June 13, 2016

Safe Lake Swimming

Swimming is an excellent sport on so many fronts. It is a great all-over body an aerobic workout, increases flexibility, and builds cardiovascular strength. While swimming in a pool is the obvious option, Austin offers a number of other places to log a few laps...Barton Springs, Deep Eddy, and the many surrounding lakes.

Lake swimming is very popular at this time of year. This year however, due to record rainfall, the lake levels are dangerously high. So whether you are swimming for exercise, or just hopping in while boating, please use extreme caution in and around the lakes this summer.

Here are some tips from the LCRA for safe lake swimming:
  • Never swim alone, and always let someone on shore know when you or your group should be expected back.
  • Keep tabs on family and friends in the water, and especially children. Drowning can take place in as little as 20 seconds, and often occurs silently with someone unknowingly slipping under the water.
  • Swim only in designated areas, and respect any other precautions or warnings set forth by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
  • Be careful even while swimming close to shore, as most drowning accidents usually occur within about 50 feet from land.
  • Learn to perform CPR or get certified in First Aid if you frequently swim in lakes. The American Red Cross offers many classes and certification options.
  • For those who are not strong swimmers, the very young, or elderly, make sure they wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket while in the water.
  • Check that open wounds or sores are properly bandaged in waterproof dressing, as natural waters are not chlorinated and can harbor high levels of harmful bacteria that can lead to infection, or illness.
Finally, remember that swimming and alcohol can be a deadly combination.

And always take note of where the nearest lifeguard station or boat ramp/entrance is, and call 911 in the event of an emergency.

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