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Dive team shares tips about water safety after recent drownings


By Winnie Dortch

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    RACINE, Wisconsin (WDJT) — Safety is the main priority when anyone is heading out into the water. The Racine County dive team shared important information at North Beach on Saturday, June 26. The goal is to teach people what to do if they’re in a dangerous situation.

“There are wave and tidal issues that cause risks to the swimmers that go out into the water and not that they need to be afraid of them but they need to respect them, so that way when they go out there they can do safely,” Nick Koldeway said. He’s a deputy with the Racine Sheriff’s Department.

A week ago, Saturday, June 19, a 10 year-old-girl drowned a Zoo beach. The same day a 17-year-old boy nearly drowned at North beach. He was found 200 yards from shore. The boy died from his injuries days later.

First Responders also pulled two swimmers from the lakefront on the following Monday,” June 21. Both survived.

“Unfortunately water doesn’t care your age,” Koldeway said.

Deputy Koldeway says one of the biggest challenges swimmers face is rip tides.

“Tidal forces are moving in a direction where they hit the lake shore and you will turn pulling water and whatever is on the surface out into the lake. Those tides can go up to 50-60 feet up to 100s of feet, in that time water is moving faster even the greatest swimmer.”

“If you see someone who is signaling for help, you must be prepared to save both of you if the tides get worse.

“Don’t rush into tidal waters to help unless they are provided with a floatation device to go and help them because even if you are a good strong swimmer once you get to that person, and if they’re in the condition where they are not making the best decisions they may drag you down as well.”

The team says if someone goes below water, it requires a little bit more strength on their end.

“if it gets to the point where someone is unable to stay above the surface and unfortunately becomes sub-surfaced, then we have our full dive gear that we would then put on and respond as well to hopefully be able to save that person,” Ryan McNally said. He’s also a deputy with the department. ryan mcnally, deputy, sheriff dept.

Officials also say check water conditions if you’re planning to head to the lakefront. If you’re in a bad situation in the water, try to stay calm, signal for help and swim parallel to the shore. If you see someone waving their hands for help, call 9-1-1 and locate the nearest lifeguard.

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