Local groups stress swimming safety for Memorial Day weekend

Published: May. 26, 2023 at 5:35 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Thousands of families are packing up and most are heading to the lakes or beaches for the Memorial Day holiday.

It is also the weekend when states see the most boating and water accidents during the year.

Local organizations are stepping up to educate families on boating safety before they hit the water.

Memorial Day is a time to honor the soldiers who gave their lives to protect our freedom. It’s also a time for families to get out and relax.

“We’re all feeling very confident and comfortable for this weekend,” said Jessica Bacon, training and outreach director for Family Y.

Bacon and her staff won’t be relaxing this weekend. For the past few months, her team has trained to prepare families to swing by.

“Making sure that we have enough lifeguards to be within ratio of our patrons and making sure they feel confident and comfortable with their training,” said Bacon.

Memorial Day weekend is a busy weekend for law enforcement and swimming facilities.

They’re working to educate the public on how to stay safe this weekend, whether you’re on a boat or at the beach.

“We call it dark water. We want you to be cautious around dark water, never dive into water that you can’t see the bottom, and at least have five feet of water if you’re going to dive. Life jackets are a huge recommendation especially if someone is not a strong swimmer, staying within marked swim areas,” she said.

We know you hear this over and over again, but Bacon says to wear a life jacket if you’re not a strong swimmer.

“It might not be cool or comfortable but it’s better than endangering yourself and putting yourself in a situation that puts you in the hospital or something worse,” said Bacon. “Drowning is 100 percent avoidable as long as the right safety precautions are in place.”

The YMCA had a seat at the table when it came to Izzy’s Law. Georgia Alliance of YMCA’S provided a lot of what the YMCA already has in place with ratios, lifeguards, and certifications.

It is something that they feel is avoidable with drownings and they feel like this is something that should spread nationally.

They’re in the early stages of working with the school district in the area and implementing water safety during the school year.