Go for swim, but be careful

A few days of sunny weather helped dry out wet basements, gardens and hiking trails, but the potential dangers of being in the water still exists.

Such was the case for the 31-year-old Ithaca man who drowned July 3 at the Wilmington Flume when caught up in a rushing current. Our sympathy goes out to the family and friends who lost their loved one.

The flume, which consists of several waterfalls on the West branch of the Ausable River in Essex County, is the same spot where two Plattsburgh High School students lost their lives while swimming in 2014 — also at a time when heavy rain magnified the waterfalls’ power.

The heavy rain we experienced this month caused dangerous conditions at the Flume and other popular swimming holes across the state, claiming or injuring unsuspecting swimmers.

Closer to home in recent years, people have drowned in the Great Sacandaga and other local lakes.

There are hidden dangers when swimming. To be safe, people heading to local lakes and rivers should swim only in designated swimming areas where lifeguards are on duty. Children should be supervised at all times, whether in a natural environment or a backyard swimming pool.

Here are more safe swimming tips from the American Red Cross: Swim with a buddy; enter unknown or shallow water cautiously with feet first; dive only in water clearly marked as safe for diving; don’t enter the water from a tree, ledge or bridge; be careful when standing in water to prevent being knocked over by waves; and don’t use alcohol or drugs before swimming.

We encourage you to play it safe and spread the word to your friends, family and others.

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