Md. First Responders Urge Water Safety In Wake Of 9 Summer Drownings

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s a seasonal challenge. With Maryland entering high summer, Alex DeMetrick reports first responders are trying to keep the number of drownings and boating accidents from climbing any higher.

Water is an irresistible draw in the summer and a source of constant watchfulness.

“They don’t realize how far they’re drifting out, and they can’t stand and then they try to swim back in and sometimes they can’t swim back in,” said Jess Jones, Sandy Point lifeguard.

Life vest fittings aren’t normally part of a day at the beach at Sandy Point State Park, but they were tried on for fun.

“It was fun to wear in the water, and I was able to float,” said Jakiya Lisenby, Sandy Point.

But they were also demonstrated to make a sobering point.

So far this summer, natural resources police have responded to nine drownings. Other agencies have also reported losses.

Deaths in areas clearly marked as unsafe for swimming ended in calls for dive teams and the recovery of a body.

The quiet waters of neighborhood docks have proven deadly to young children.

“There’s always the potential for somebody tripping or falling into the water off a dock. So putting that life jacket on is just an extra precaution,” said Julie Brown, Natural Resources Police Boating Education.

When it comes to any body of water, trouble can happen fast. That’s especially true for the bay and its rivers.

“If your loved one goes under the water, it’s not like a swimming pool. You may not be able to see them to pull them back up,” said Lt. Beth Mauk,  NRP.

Safety warnings extend off shore. In the past two weeks there have been nearly 30 boating accidents. There life jackets are the law.

On beaches, they aren’t required.

Zavion Randall says it might be necessary to wear one.

“So when you go to the deep end and you get one of these it won’t happen, you won’t drown,” he said.

There’s been more than enough drownings already.

Safety experts say the best precaution is to never swim alone and for parents never to take their eyes off young children.

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