Even though it's been a relatively cool and even rainy summer, people all over the state of Washington are getting ready to hit the water. I got a new swimsuit for the summer and have already used it in my buddy's hot tub. My pool is open but I need to wait for it to be warm enough to hop in.

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Even though I'm excited about the "most normal" summer since 2019, I'm reminding myself, my friends, my family, and you to be safe this summer. It never hurts to refresh.

Photo by Hannah on Unsplash
Photo by Hannah on Unsplash

How many people drown in Washington every year?

Washington averages 100 fatal drownings each year, the fourth-most of any state in the nation.

Why do people drown in Washington?

Speaking to the Seattle Times in 2017, King County Sherriff's Deputy Rich Barton said that the water in Washington "does not warm up." Because the water in Washington is so cold, drownings can happen in the blink of an eye. Even seasoned swimmers are not immune to Washington's icy waters. Complications include difficulty treading water and labored breathing.

Photo by nikko macaspac on Unsplash
Photo by nikko macaspac on Unsplash

How many people drown in the United States?

Over 4,500 people died from drowning in the United States, roughly 12 a day. The majority of those who drown, drown while out boating. Of those people that drown while boating, the majority of them are men aged 30-55.

How can I be safe in the water?

Now, I don't want to deter you from boating or discourage you from having fun this summer, but it's important to be safe.

You can minimize your risk of drowning by wearing a life vest or other personal floatation device. This is the number one thing you need to remember. It sounds simple because it really is that simple. It may look goofy, but nobody looks cool when they're dead. Except maybe John Dillinger.

Even if you're not actively piloting a boat, you should be careful with alcohol as it can make you more vulnerable to burning. You should never drink or use any other recreational drugs while operating a boat, jetski, or other watercraft.

If you have your kids with you, keep a close eye on them. You should never let them get far enough from you to where you can't reach for them in case of an emergency.

Here's a more obscure tip: splash yourself with water when you're out on the boat. It adjusts your body to the cold waters.

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