The Curry Coastal Pilot

Kayakers were spotted floating the Chetco River last weekend and the first swimmers arrived for the opening of the Brookings Municipal Pool on Tuesday.

Soon, sunnier days will prevail (hopefully) and people will be flocking to local rivers and beaches. It's the unofficial beginning of summer and the water is calling but, please, be cautious.

Every summer for at least the last four years people have drowned in local rivers and beaches. Last August, three kayakers died on the Rogue River. In June the same year, a 6-year-old boy drowned on the Chetco River near Loeb State Park. In 2008, a young girl nearly drowned at the Brookings city pool.

Here are some basic safety tips, courtesy of local and state authorities.

andbull;If you're boating or rafting, make sure everyone has a properly-fitting life jacket on board. All children 12 and younger are required to wear a life jacket when the boat is underway.

andbull;If you plan to go wade at the rivers' edge, make sure you are wearing a life jacket, especially if you don't know how to swim. Unseen drop offs, combined with swift current, can easily take people by surprise.

andbull;Always keep track of your friends and family when around the water.

andbull;Before diving into the local swimming holes, check for submerged rocks, logs and hazards that may pose a danger.

andbull;An overindulgence in alcohol is also something to avoid. More than half of all drowning fatalities involve alcohol consumption, authorities report.

andbull;Last, but not least, we urge people, especially those watching over children, to learn basic CPR and first aid. Such skills often mean the difference between life and death.