AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - The tragic incident on Lake Oliver is a sobering reminder of just how dangerous water can be.
Here are some safety tips and things to know to keep you and your family safe while on the water.
Keep in mind, not all life jackets are the same and buying can be confusing.
You need to do your research and not just buy the most comfortable one.
Parents, if you are looking for the best possible protection for your kids, who may struggle to keep their heads above water, look for TYPE I jackets.
- Type I,or, offshore life jackets float the best and will turn most unconscious wearers face up in the water.
- Type II or near-shore life vests are good for calm, inland water.
They come in kids sizes too, but they will not turn some unconscious wearers face up in the water. Alabama law requires everyone eight and under to wear a life jacket at all times when on a boat.
But if you can't swim, wear one even if it's not legally required.
"Always wear a life jacket, even though the law doesn't require it, it's better to be safe than sorry. If you are not going to wear it at least make sure to have one in the boat for everyone," Alabama Marine Police Sgt. Mark Fuller said.
Also, consider locations you swim in offer different dangers.
At the beach, observe warning flags: rough waves, rip tides and currents can quickly lead to danger and difficult rescues.
In the lake, even strong swimmers need to wear vests. Folks can quickly get in trouble by misjudging their own strength and distances they can swim.
Finally, don't let your neighborhood pool lull you into a false sense of security. Drowning is a silent killer, it can happen in just a few seconds without a person ever screaming or waving their arms for help.
Finally, experts say avoid alcohol, a leading factor in fatal boating and drowning accidents.