Safely Soaking In The Summer Sun

“Most drownings occur under parent supervision within ten feet of their reach,” explained Erin Parsons, the aquatic director at West Grand Traverse Bay YMCA.

That’s why the Grand Traverse Bay Area YMCA is stressing water safety year round and especially this summer.

It’s a topic important every body, every generation.

“We offer swim lessons for all ages for 6 months all the way to seniors,” said Parsons. “Here at the Grand Traverse YMCA, we stand for healthy living, youth development, and social responsibility, so we feel it is our social responsibility to cover water safety.”

Keeping in mind one of the leading causes of death in America.

“The second leading cause of death is drowning,” she explained.

An important lesson YMCA swim instructors teach is ‘reach and throw, don’t go.’

“That is where you teach the children that if they see someone in the water and distressed, we teach them not to help them,” she said. “We teach them other things they can do, they can lay on the deck, lay on the beach, reach out.”

Lessons are taught at the Easling Pool.

“Easling Pool is over 50 years old and not much has been done in the past 50 years,” explained Kristine Erickson, with Grand Traverse Parks and Recreation.

Friends of Easling pool started a campaign to raise $625,000 to renovate it.

“Our community will have a brand new pool to come to and they can hopefully celebrate with us in early August when we celebrate it,” she said.

The tides of water safety are important reminder beyond the pool, and into the open water, too.

“Even if you’re wearing a PFD, with the water temperature that it is today, you only have use of your arms and legs for 15-20 minutes, then they just hang there, your muscles won’t allow them to move,” said John Heiam, with Traverse Area Paddle Club.

So they say a general rule of thumb is not to paddle further you can swim.

“Drowning can be silent, it can be quiet, it is not what you expect, they’re usually not waving their arms,” explained Parsons.

However, with the right training and tools, enjoying the water both indoors and outdoors is an experience to take advantage of in the mitten state.

“We have about 137 miles of shoreline that makes up our 601 square miles of land in the county, she said. “Be safe in and around our water but enjoy yourself, too, in and around the water.”



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