EDITORIAL: Choose safety this summer

As anyone who was ever in the water with a dolphin, a shark or marine mammal can easily tell you, human beings are not really made for swimming. We can do it and some of us can even do it quite well – for a human – but it’s not really our natural habitat.

That fact should probably be kept in mind this summer as residents head to the lakes, rivers and ocean beaches to cool off.

It’s fun to play in the water, to dive, to surf, to swim, but we should all make a point of keeping our wits very much about us while we’re doing it.

The difference between a lovely family day at the beach and a horrifying trip to the morgue can sometimes rest on the smallest, briefest lack of focus.

You swim up under the raft and come up too soon, hitting your head, you surf into another person, you jump off a cliff into the water without first checking what’s there – it doesn’t take much.

We’ve already had several tragedies in the mid-Island. But it’s not just swimmers who have to be careful. Boaters, too, need to keep their wits about them.

That starts with carrying all the necessary safety equipment on board whenever you leave the shore and with using it properly – such as actually wearing your life-jacket instead of using it as a pillow.

It should be unnecessary to mention the need to keep water fun and alcohol fun entirely separate, but as we have seen again and again across this country, people in fact do need to be told – or rather, they need to actually pay attention to the many messages to this effect that are already out there.

Let’s make sure that when we’re shivering in the rain this fall, we are able to remember having fun in the sun without having to realize that it was the last time we saw a family member alive.

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