Swimming season is well underway and as people head to the lakes and pools to cool off and have fun, it's important to remember the risk of drowning.
The owner of Goldfish Swim School, Steve Karapetian, joined ABC7 Chicago to talk about ways to stay safe while in the water.
Karapetian said there have been several youth drownings in NW Indiana and on Lake Michigan recently.
He says parents should remember the acronym W.A.T.E.R.
W - "Wear a life jacket" - Realize that floaties, noodles and plastic inner tubes do NOT protect against drowning. They are created as water toys, not life-saving devices. U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets can be worn while swimming or boating to keep you safe.
A - Act."Throw but don't go!" - If you see someone in trouble in the water, throw an item for them to grab onto but NEVER jump in yourself -- you could be putting both of you in danger!
T - Take Swim Lessons. "Swim lessons keep me safe" - Swim lessons are the best way to ensure you and your family stays safe and has the most fun while in the water.
E - Educate. "I'm up to speed on my swim skills" - Key to swim safety is knowing essential skills like treading water and rolling over to float and catch a breath. With education about swim safety, you'll be prepared if something unexpected happens.
R - Follow the Rules. "I respect the rules!" - Pay attention to posted rules and signage -- listen to lifeguards, parents, coaches -- the rules, and adults in charge are there to keep everyone safe!
So far this year there have been 38 drownings in the Great Lakes, with 31 of those in Lake Michigan, according to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project.
For more information or tips, watch Karapetian's interview.
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