A recent drowning on the Buttahatchie River is a reminder of the importance of safety while swimming. One of the most important aspects for people to remember when swimming is being aware of the area.
“People should avoid unsafe swimming areas because of debris. Go to an area that doesn’t have hazardous material,” said John Finn of Aberdeeen, who is past flotilla commander with the Coast Guard Auxiliary. “The biggest thing is being familiar with an area or being with people who are familiar with an area.”
Even to that matter, water current speeds can change, especially in creeks, following heavy rainfalls. Swift water should always be avoided when swimming.
Additionally, swift water can bring debris downstream that wasn’t in an area beforehand.
Because of the darker waters of most rivers, lakes and creeks in Monroe County, people should be aware of the possibility of snakes and, in some cases, alligators.
“If there are reports of snakes and alligators in an area, don’t go swimming there.
“Blue Bluff is an ideal designated swimming area. One thing people don’t realize is the Corps of Engineers will lend life jackets. They’re stored at the gate at Blue Bluff campground, and it requires adult supervision and an adult checking them out,” Finn said.
He said one dangerous issue is the lack of some people wearing life jackets on personal watercraft and while skiing. Finn added alcohol consumption while boating and swimming is also dangerous.
As far as safety on the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, people should be aware of the wake created by other boats.