Five hundred and fifty-four. That's the number of people who took advantage of free swim safety courses recently offered by the City of Columbia and the YMCA.
Every year when the weather turns warm, South Carolinians turn to our refreshing lakes, rivers and beaches to beat the heat. But all too often, that water turns deadly for someone.
More than a dozen people have drowned in the Midlands this year alone, which is why WIS teamed up with the City and the Y to publicize free swim lessons and offer water safety tips.
WIS featured a series of reports focused on safe swimming basics, boating safety and river rescues. Included were tips on how to survive if you fall out of a boat or the boat capsizes, how to rescue someone else without putting yourself in danger and knowing what to do if you get swept up by fast-moving water in our rivers.
Whether you're young or old, if you don't know how to swim, you can still learn. And if you know a poor swimmer or non-swimmer who takes chances in the water, do them a favor. Call any YMCA or pool in the city of Columbia and beat the heat safely this summer by learning how to handle yourself in the water.
That's my perspective. I'd like to know what you think.