How to stay safe around the water

Photo: Suzanne Kennedy

With the weather continuing to heat up and summer close to being in full swing, water recreation will be an extremely popular diversion for the next several months.

There are several ways you can protect yourself while swimming, boating or playing in area lakes, rivers and waterways.

It has already been a dangerous and tragic summer in the D.C. area, especially in the Potomac River. In the past two months, several people have drowned in the Potomac and other lakes throughout the region.

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries officials have some very basic tips on how to stay safe around the water. They include wearing a life jacket, taking boater education courses, always obeying signs and buoys, carrying proper safety equipment and telling family and friends where you're going.

Authorities also warn boaters to never operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol.