Montana’s summer is not even half over and already there have been drownings and near drownings.
Summer swimming in the state’s lakes and rivers can be a great way to cool off if a few simple precautions are taken. How simple? Try these:
• Always swim with a buddy. Never swim alone or in unsupervised places. Select swimming sites that have lifeguards whenever possible.
• Make sure an adult is constantly watching children swimming or playing in or around the water. Do not read, play cards, talk on the phone or engage in any other distracting activity while supervising children.
• Avoid drinking alcohol before or during swimming or boating. Avoid drinking alcohol while supervising children around water.
• Learn to swim. Enroll yourself and your children in swimming classes.
• Don't consider your children to be "drown-proof" because you enrolled them in an infant water-proofing class or swimming class. A child who falls into water unexpectedly may panic and forget learned swimming skills.
• Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Because of the time it might take for emergency services to arrive, your CPR skills can make a difference in someone's life.
• Do not use air-filled or foam toys, such as water-wings, noodles, or inner-tubes, in place of life jackets (PFDs). These are toys and are not designed to keep swimmers safe.
• Know the local weather conditions and forecast before swimming or boating. Strong winds and thunderstorms with lightning strikes are dangerous to swimmers and boaters.
• Use U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets when boating, regardless of distance to be traveled, size of boat, or swimming ability of boaters.
• Stay out of dangerous water, especially during spring run-off when rivers have swift, cold murky water that may contain dangerous eddies and hazardous debris.
• Jumping from cliffs or bridges is dangerous because of shallow water, submerged rocks, trees, or other hazards. Never dive head first into water.
• Never swim above or below a dam and always obey warning signs.