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Take precautions to be safe while on the water

With summer here, it is critical people of all ages be aware of how to stay safe while out on the water, whether that is on the lake or in the pool.

As of last week, nine people had already been victims of boating fatalities across the state, and a higher-than-average number of people have drowned at places like beaches and swimming pools, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. One of those included a 9-year-old boy who drowned at the Spring Lake Park Swim Facility in North Mankato.

It only takes a matter of seconds for tragedy to strike.

The DNR states this summer has been particularly busy out on the water because of the above-average temperatures this month.

When on the water, children and adults should wear life jackets, and the DNR encourages avoiding alcohol. The state agency states 40% of boating fatalities include alcohol.

It also encourages establishing a “water watcher,” or a person who focuses only on watching the water to ensure everyone is safe, and swimming only in designated swimming areas.

Children should be constantly supervised when in or near the water.

In addition to the safety tips offered by the DNR, the Albert Lea Police Department last week on its Facebook page stressed the importance of pool safety and following city ordinances, which require pools to be at least 5 feet from any property line and to have at minimum a 4-foot fence with security latch.

Sign children up for swimming lessons when possible, either through the city or the Albert Lea Family Y.

You can never be too prepared when it comes to protecting you and your loved ones in the water.