Warm spring weather enabled more people to head out on the water earlier than usual this year. Our lakes, rivers and streams are wonderful places for recreation.
But they are dangerous, too. We have already had tragic drowning accidents and the summer season has not yet started.
Most area residents are familiar enough with the hazards of boating and swimming to know what precautions should be taken. But sometimes that familiarity itself creates problems when people lose respect for the inherent dangers. They become too comfortable in or on the water and forget how quickly the situation can turn deadly.
Precautions everyone should take be safe when boating of swimming involve common sense:
Always wear a life preserver in smaller boats - canoes, kayaks, personal watercraft - and have them readily available in larger boats.
Never use alcoholic beverages or drugs which may affect judgment or reaction ability.
Never go in the water alone.
Watch the weather.
It takes just a few seconds for a day of fun on the water to become a tragedy. That has already happened too many times this year.
Please, everyone, be careful.