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Water Safety in the Desert

The sun is out, the days are longer, and the temperature is rising.  It can only mean one thing.

Time to get in the water.

Here in the Tri-Cities, we live in a desert.  Only 8.4 inches of rain per year.  But we’re also in the middle of one of the most fertile areas in the country.

And it’s all because of our rivers.  With the Columbia, Snake, and Yakima Rivers all converging here, water is not only essential to our local economy, it’s a big part of our way of life.

Whether you own a boat, or have a friend with a boat, lots of us spend most of our summer weekends down at the river.  The rest of us spend our time at one of the several local swimming pools.

At CBRC, we have our own ideas of water fun.  We have an indoor pool, an outdoor pool, and Pelican Bay (more on Pelican Bay next week, so stay tuned).

But whatever way you choose to meet your water play needs, we thought it might be a good idea to go over some basic water safety with you, to help make sure everyone in your family has a great, safe time.

Perhaps the most important part of water safety is to know your own skill level.  If you know you’re not a strong swimmer, don’t try to pretend you are.  Lots of people get hurt or killed every year because they overestimated their own skill level.

Fortunately, if you come to CBRC, we have the best lifeguards in the area.  At both pools and at Pelican Bay, they’re there to help keep you safe.  Try to throw a friendly “thank you” their way next time you see them.

Just the same, if you can’t swim, stay out of the deep end, and wear a life jacket if you like.  We have some you can use.

If you’re not a strong swimmer, we have a whole crew of top swim instructors standing by to help boost your skill level.  We have several options for all ages and skill levels.  From tots’ first time in the pool, to teenagers wanting to build an edge on the swim team.  We can help.

We even do private lessons for adults.  If you want more information on our swim lessons, click here.  Now’s a great time to sign up, so you have the whole summer to practice.

Assuming you can swim decently, and are out to have fun, there are some standard safety rules for pools.

It should be obvious, but please don’t run around the pool, the ground is wet.  And hard.

Also, no horseplay or diving in shallow water.  You don’t want to crack your head at the bottom of the pool.

More generally, be aware of your surroundings.  And if you’re a full-sized adult, don’t forget to look down.  Kids are everywhere.

Finally, a little advice for river safety.

First and foremost, know the water you’re swimming in.  The current below the surface can often be much faster than what you can see, and it may catch you by surprise.

Don’t swim where you can’t see the bottom.  If you can’t see the bottom, you don’t know how deep it is.  You also won’t see where there might be rocks or other hazards.

Always go with a buddy.  That way if one of you gets in trouble, the other one can go for help.  Never go in after your buddy when he’s in trouble.  Then you both might end up in the same situation.  Send him something to help float, and then go get help.

And always make sure someone knows where you’re going, and when you expect to return.  That way, if anything happens to you, there’s someone who cares, who can get help.

Lastly, the purpose of all these tips and rules is to make sure you can stay safe while having fun.

So, go out, enjoy the water, and have fun!

We wish you good health,

Columbia Basin Racquet Club

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