WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Public swimming pools are packed with families escaping the heat, but every summer, some look to get cool in rivers or lakes, where there can be quick currents, and no lifeguards on duty.
22News went to the West Springfield Fire Department to find out what the risks are. Lt. C.J. Bartone said, “Currents are what you have to deal with. So, you have your currents that go along the surface of the water as well as some that are below the water that you might not see. So they can possibly pull you down underneath the surface of the water.”
The West Springfield Fire Department told 22News that one of the biggest dangers of swimming in an undesignated swimming zone is what lies beneath the water. You might be standing in what seems to be 3-4 feet, but one misstep, and suddenly you’re in 8-10 feet.
Drop-offs and strong currents are main reasons why people, typically young adults, drown in these areas. Some public swimming locations have signs that say “swim at your own risk.”
Lt. Bartone said only strong swimmers should go in the water, and they should make sure someone else is around. He also stressed regardless of your skill level, you should never swim in area that’s off limits.
“The most important thing for people is that we want them to have fun. It’s hot out there, we want to beat the heat, but be safe and use common sense,” said Lt. Bartone.
Police departments do monitor some of these undesignated swimming areas.