Staying Safe in the Water | VideoMichelle San Miguel | 6/21/2012
"We were swimming at an apartment pool and I turned around to do something with my other child, and he jumped in the water without his life jacket on," recalled Schlecht. "And it was one of those moments where your stomach just drops and your heart just drops and you`re like, `Oh my gosh!`"
Bismarck Parks and Recreation is offering two-week swimming lessons for kids three and up. Lifeguards say the classes are a good way to get kids used to the water.
"We do start very early, like three years old. They`re already learning how to like kick and float on their back and even just getting their arms involved and just keeping their body above the water," said lifeguard Olivia Uhrich.
No matter how much of an experienced swimmer you are, accidents do happen. Between 2007 and 2011, 45 people drowned in North Dakota. Most of them were between the ages of 15 and 44.
"That is the typical age range that will not put a life jacket on," said Nancy Boldt, boat and water safety coordinator for North Dakota Game and Fish. "People that normally drown, you`ll always hear their family or friends say he knew how to swim. I don`t understand it."
Those who swim in the Missouri River may have already found that last summer`s flooding scoured some deep holes in the river.
"We don`t know if you step off that sandbar whether you`re gonna step into three feet of water or you`re gonna step into 40 feet of water," Boldt said.
That`s why, no matter how good of a swimmer you are, Boldt encourages people to wear life jackets. The next set of two-week swimming classes begin July 9. Registration starts July 2. It costs $20.