By now, the heavy coats have been pushed to the back of the closet and the light jackets moved to the front.
Even though clouds have recently arrived, the Tri-City weather is warming up, and it won't be long before it's time to open that backyard pool (if it hasn't been opened already) or head down for a dip in the swimming areas along the nearby rivers.
However, no matter how inviting the water is on a hot day, a fun idea quickly can turn tragic.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 10 people die from drowning every day and two of those are children under 15. Drowning is the sixth-leading cause of unintentional death for people of all ages and the second-leading cause of death for children 1 to 14.
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Pretty frightening statistics.
Wouldn't it be great if the Tri-Cities could beat the odds and go through an entire summer without losing anyone to drowning?
The community has seen its share of water-related deaths over the years and it is always sudden and devastating. In many of those cases, a little caution would have prevented the heartache.
The main thing to remember is to be smart when around the water and never underestimate its danger. There are some basic guidelines that can help prevent tragedy.
For starters, know how to swim and never swim alone. Never let children swim unsupervised, or better yet, never let them out of your sight when water is nearby.
In Yakima, an 18-month-old recently drowned in an irrigation canal behind his aunt's house when he wandered off. It can happen so quickly.
It's important to teach children that irrigation canals are dangerous and are no place to go swimming. According to the Kennewick Irrigation District website, fast-moving water can knock people off their feet and skid them along even if it is only a foot deep. Swift undercurrents can drag people under and keep them there even if they are excellent swimmers.
People also should opt for better places to swim than the rivers. Even though it may be a scorching day, the river water still can be too cold to be safe.
Cold water temperatures and moving currents are a deadly combination.
As for boaters, wearing a life jacket is a must. So often, a floatation device makes the difference between drowning and surviving.
Also, boaters need to be aware that beginning this year, anyone age 40 and younger will be required to obtain a Boater Education Card. This relatively new state law has been phased in since 2008, and by 2014, all people 59 and younger operating motor boats with 15 horsepower or more will be required to take a boating safety class and get the card. The fine for failing to obtain and carry the card while operating a boat is $87.
Boater education courses are offered in a variety of ways. People interested in taking the class can go to boat-ed.com for more information.
It would be remarkable if everyone in the Tri-Cities was safe and smart when they were out enjoying the water this summer. The community is off to a good start so far. Let's do all we can to see that it continues.