Lake officials urge swimmers to practice water safety

WICHITA, Kansas- Lake officials are anticipating to see a lot more people go for a swim in the lake with the unofficial start of summer underway.

They say that before you do, it’s best to read the rules so you can avoid the possible dangers of drowning.

“Our swim areas are marked by buoys,” said Mark Sroufe, parks superintendent for Sedgwick County. “They need to be sure they stay inside of the buoys area and stay out of the boat tracks.”

Sroufe points out that even though the swim areas at Lake Afton are marked swimmers can easily overlook the buoys when they’re having fun in the water.

“Just about two years ago an incident where a soccer ball floated out into the water,” said Sroufe. “A young man swam out and unfortunately he did not make it back.”

It’s incidents like this that raises concerns for lake officials every summer.

With high winds projected in parts of the KSN viewing area this week, swimmers need to be alert when playing with an inflatable ball or raft in lake.

“A lot of the incidents for the kids is the wind will start to blow them,” said Sroufe. “The best thing to do is let them go. They’ll end up somewhere and they can drive and pick them up.”

Sroufe adds, “If it gets away from them just let it go. A $3 or $4 dollar bill ball or floaty is not worth somebody’s life.”

Practicing safe fun in the water also starts by wearing the appropriate gear for inexperienced swimmers.

“They’ll buy these little inflatable swim rings, which really those aren’t much protection for flotation device,” said Sroufe. “They’re not recommended to use them. They need to use a full vest.”

Sroufe says adults need to keep a sharp eye on kids when they’re in the water.

“So many times accidents happen it’s due to the fact that parent’s aren’t paying attention to their kids. They need to watch them real close,” said Sroufe.

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