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Memorial Day Water Safety

Every year around Memorial Day, people everywhere are looking for fun on the lake, river and pools. But many forget the rules of water safety. As Chicago temperatures rise (very slowly) the eagerness to engage in water activities is at an all time high. Whether you enjoy water sports, fishing, swimming, tubing, floating, boating, or just going to the beach there are risks involved. The risks associated with open water are just as substantial, if not greater, than the risks on land. However, the water tends to lead to people disregarding the risks involved and become more daring. In reality, the water is not the place to be displaying your dangerous behavior. Rather, everyone should be demonstrating the utmost water safety to prevent injury, death, or accidents.

Death on Wooster Lake

At the end of April, a 35-year old man drowned to death in Wooster Lake in Ingleside while fishing. This tragic event exemplifies how simple it is to lose control of a situation while on the water. This man was fishing with his two sons (ten and eleven years old) and an adult friend. There was alcohol involved and the men did not have on safety jackets. The three who survived were found gripping on to the flipped over canoe when a bystander spotted them. The bystander jumped in and saved the three who survived, but the 35-year old father did not make it. This tragedy is a reminder to always use common sense, wear your safety jacket, and drink in moderation while on the water. All four of them could have died that day if the bystander hadn’t heard and seen them in distress.

The simple act of wearing a life jacket can stand between life and death. You never know what is going to happen while on large bodies of water and being cautious is crucial. Some of the main causes in drowning include overestimating one’s fitness or ability to swim, too much alcohol, and not wearing a life jacket. Currently the water in lakes and rivers is still very cold. The men who were fishing in Wooster Lake were fishing in 49-degree water . This likely had a large effect on the death of the 35-year old man. Underestimating temperatures, wind and storms can be catastrophic. It’s very easy to lose control once you hit frigid temperatures in the water. Although dangerous at time, spending your summer by the pool or at the lake this year shouldn’t be suspended. It’s just important to be mindful of the dangers and take the necessary precautions in order to maintain water safety.

R.F. Wittmeyer

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