Dangers of river-swimming

56% of Americans feel that they are a stronger swimmer than they really are

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP)– Cooling off in the nearest river may sound tempting as the summer heats up, but 22News is working for you with why its critical to pay attention to where it’s safe to swim and it’s not.

Western Mass is filled with popular spots to try and cool off as temperatures heat up during the summer months, like the Chicopee River and its canals, or the waters by Indian Leap in Indian Orchard. But urge residents not to swim in river waters as conditions are unpredictable.

The Westfield River proved deadly over the weekend, 28 year-old Luis Robles’ body was found Sunday morning after he had been seen struggling in the water while swimming with a group of people the night before. Westfield police called that area he was in a non-designated swimming area.

The state’s Department of Conservation and Recreation told 22News that the difference between a designated swimming area and a non-designated swimming area is that there’s no lifeguard on duty and these waters aren’t testing for things like bacteria that could make you sick if you swallow some of the water.

Dawn Leaks, Spokesperson for the American Red Cross in Springfield told 22News it’s a good idea to stick to places that have a lifeguard and it’s important to know your ability.  “56 percent of Americans feel that they are a stronger swimmer than they really are and so people have an inflated sense of confidence around the water,” Leaks said. She also warns that false confidence can be risky even if the water is shallow.

Other tips to remember this summer include using a buddy system while swimming. Make sure this kid’s or inexperienced swimmers of the family are wearing U.S. coast guard approved life jackets, and remember alcohol and swimming don’t mix.

For other safety tips click here.

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