South Carolinians love their summers and have become well-versed in measures to beat the heat. As the temperature rises, more individuals tend make their way to bodies of water, which are plentiful in the Palmetto State. With that, water-related fatalities are occurring more regularly across the state. Department of Natural Resources spokesman and host of Life’s Better Outdoors Mike Willis says that the more people that are swimming, the greater the likelihood of fatalities becomes.
“We’re a pretty large state right now,” said Willis. “We’re up to about 4.3 million people in South Carolina. So, with all of those (or) many of those people swimming and taking to the water to beat the heat in the summertime, unfortunately we’re going to see some water-related fatalities and drownings.”
In recent days, drownings have occurred at the Broad, Green, Catawba, and Edisto Rivers as well as Lake Wylie.
Willis says everyone should be mindful of the dangers and take appropriate precautions. “When you’re swimming, never take risks and always swim with a partner,” he said.
“We see people who are good swimmers drown all of the time and it’s usually because they take some sort of risk and they over-estimate their physical abilities.”
He has some safety tips for anyone that may go swimming this summer. According to Willis, “When it comes to prevention, there are a few things people can do. We recommend, even good swimmers, take a Red Cross approved swimming course. They can give you a lot of information about how to stay safe while you’re swimming and on the water.
“Also, as I said before, swim with a partner. Use the buddy system. That way, someone is always keeping an eye on you and you’re always keeping an eye on somebody else.”