Chattahoochee Scuba gives water safety advice - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Chattahoochee Scuba gives water safety advice

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

Chattahoochee Scuba in Columbus says there are ways a person can stay safe in different bodies of water in the event of an emergency situation.

Manager Joshua Blair says if you're going to be around any type of water, make sure you check the conditions before entering.

"The interesting thing about the Chattahoochee River is the conditions in one section of the river is different from another section of the river and the dam," said Blair. "It's very enticing to walk on the rocks and go checks the rocks just right above it. What people don't realize just a few hours earlier those rocks were completely under water. So those rocks are very slippery and so if you go and stand on those rocks a lot of time you'll slip and fall and if you fall into the river, you'll fall into an area where it's shallow and there's some flow and current. If you're not a strong swimmer or if you panic, that's where you get into trouble."

For the second time in one week, emergency crews responded to people who disappeared in two separate bodies of water. The first incident happened at Lake Oliver, while the other was at the Chattahoochee River.

"Lake Oliver is a little different because it sits between two dams, so when the dams are open the water is going very quickly," Blair said.

Blair is a veteran diver and says if you find yourself caught up in a rip current, it's best to stay calm.

"If you're relaxed you're going to better have options to float and stay at the surface and float and then you want to ride it out and not panic until you get to an area that slower," Blair said. 

Swim instructors at Chattahoochee Scuba points out that currents in swimming pools are different from open water currents. Either way, floatation devices can be helpful.

"Be able to know how to float if you get tired of swimming, just roll on your back and relax, if you do get pulled by a current go with it until the water settles," said Reanna Howard, swim instructor.

Chattahoochee Scuba trains rescue and public safety divers and swimmers to always have a plan while in the water and to access changing water conditions.

"The area where it's shallow its going to go very fast anybody that caught in those areas is going to have a tough time getting out," said Blair.

Blair says never swim alone, check the water conditions before entering, and understand water currents.

Currents in swimming pools are different than currents in open water like the Chattahoochee river. If the current looks quick, it is, and ride the current until it weakens. Stay calm, watch the weather, and know your surroundings.

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