It’s been a tragic weekend on North Texas lakes: four people drowned. In *ONE* day, three people drowned on Joe Pool Lake in Arlington and another man drowned in Lake Lewisville after falling out of a boat. Emergency officials and specialized dive teams continue to search for a three-year-old who fell into a Greenville reservoir while fishing with his father. At this point, authorities are calling this a “recovery” effort, rather than rescue. The child is the fifth drowning victim in North Texas this weekend.

The first victim at Joe Pool jumped into the water to save his three stepchildren, who had fallen off an inflatable raft. They were eventually pulled to safety, along with their mother, but the man later died at the hospital. The second victim fell off the inner tube he was riding behind a boat. He did not resurface. The third victim fell off his jet ski.

My heart goes out to the families mourning the death of their loved one. But, I truly believe these deaths could have been prevented *IF* the individuals had been wearing life jackets.

Though I am no longer a certified lifeguard, I’ve spent a lot of time around water and I’m an excellent swimmer. When I was younger, it was mandatory that I wore a life jacket at all times, whether I was swimming in a backyard pool or riding on a boat or jet ski. When I was older, I took swim lessons and eventually joined the swim team at the YMCA. One of my most vivid memories of swimming was water treading. After every lesson, my instructor required swimmers to tread water for 30 minutes in the deep end of the pool. As tired as I was from the lesson, my arms and legs never stopped moving and my head stayed above the water.
When I turned 12, I became first aid and CPR certified through the American Red Cross.
It’s something I renew on a bi-annual basis.

To not sound like a hypocrite, I admit to not wearing a life jacket at all times now. I do not wear one when swimming and I did not wear any floatation device while snorkeling in Cozumel. However, I always wear a life jacket while riding a boat or jet ski across open water. My philosophy: if something freak-ish happens and I am unconscious, that life jacket is going to keep me facing up. The modern life jackets are designed to keep you afloat and your head above water.

Ignore my advice if you’re so inclined to do so, but I take water safety very seriously. I grew up respecting the tranquil, yet powerful natural force. As peaceful as water may seem, it can be very deadly.

This is my two-cents-worth. Now, go have fun this summer, but please use common sense.