It’s summer:
Enjoy with care

Published 10:37 pm Wednesday, May 27, 2009

By Staff
Earlier this week, Memorial Day kicked off the start of the summer season, calendar-related niceties not withstanding. There are lots of ways to have fun in the summer, and some of them can be a little bit dangerous. We thought we’d recap some of the safety highlights as the season kicks off.
On Memorial Day, two people drowned in North Carolina. The ocean claimed one near Wilmington, and the other died in B. Everett Jordan Lake, south of Chapel Hill.
It’s too soon to know exactly why each of those people drowned, but the hundreds of rescues also made by lifeguards on the holiday highlight the need for safety in swimming.
With all the water in our area, there are bound to be lots of people swimming and boating this summer. That’s a good thing. Don’t stay out of the water. But here are some helpful hints that could keep you alive:
Learn to swim. If you expect to find yourself on a boat, it’s worth taking the time to learn to swim. Certainly learn if you intend to go swimming for recreation.
Don’t swim drunk. Getting inebriated and hurling yourself into a murky river is bad news.
Before you dive into the water, check out what’s below the surface. Look for dead trees, rocks and shallow water for obvious reasons. Look for muck because, if you jump into it hard enough, you could get stuck underwater.
Don’t swim alone. If a quick dip turns tragic, there should be someone there to call for, or render, help.
Wear life jackets, or keep them close by. If you do fall out of a boat, it could be a long way to shore, or you could be rendered unconscious by whatever knocked you out of the boat. A little help staying above the surface is a good thing in either case.
Now is also the time that people encounter snakes. A man was bitten not too long ago out at Goose Creek State Park, and we’ve certainly seen our share of moccasins and copperheads on creek banks, along trails and roads. Don’t play with snakes. Give them a wide berth. If you are bitten, don’t apply a tourniquet, just get to a medical facility right away.
Bicyclists are with us through the summer, though the Cycle North Carolina event earlier this spring was obviously the biggest single influx we’re likely to have. Cyclists should look for motorists. Motorists should look for cyclists. Signaling and looking around while driving can help prevent tragedy. Helmets are also a good idea. Everything above goes double for motorcycles.
These and many other safety precautions are a good idea as the summer rolls along. But it would be almost a tragedy in itself for folks not to experience the outdoors. So, be careful, but be outside.