LYNNWOOD, Wash.-- The unofficial start to summer has come and gone, so more and more people are spending their days out on the water across western Washington.
So how many eyes are on our kids when they swim, or is every body of water a “swim at your own risk” situation? You might be surprised to learn that Seattle beaches are some of the only ones across western Washington that actually still have lifeguards on duty.
"I've had my share of scary experiences so I'm very respectful of the water at this point."
At 24 years old, Dylan Crochiere knows his abilities pretty well, but he still takes precautions on the water.
"I'll throw a life jacket in the water, just in case.”
While we talked, Dylan watched a young boy swimming, that boy’s father looking on—he told me as long as an adult is watching, kids should be able to swim and enjoy themselves without a life jacket, but says there are circumstances where one is needed.
"If you're not at least 14 or 15 years old you should always have a life jacket on or something, or at least an adult like right next to you."
And if you didn’t bring a life jacket, several swimming spots across Pierce, King and Snohomish counties have you covered—literally. Olesya Andreyev loves the life jacket loaner program at Martha Lake in Lynnwood.
"We came a couple of times and we forgot our stuff at home, like floaties and stuff so it is always nice and safe to have this around.”
Other places like Magnuson Park and Mount Baker Park Beach don’t have life jackets or life guards to keep an eye on the kids until June 22 though.
Leslie Hynes with South County Fire says watching is key.
"A lot of times, people think that someone else is watching the kids we recommend that you have water watcher, have someone appointed."
Even when your child is wearing a life jacket or a life guard is on duty, Hynes says those things can offer a false sense of security.
"Drowning it happens quickly... silently."
Things can change in just a matter of seconds. The Technical Rescue Team with South County Fire are the guys you don’t ever want to have to call.
"We know that, that every minute counts if a person is under water. So time is our enemy."
They’re the one’s responding when someone doesn’t come back up. Tom Keene is the Captain with South County Fire, Fire Station 21,"They're trying to just be a little more daring and do something maybe, they're invincible and sometimes they pick things to do that is a little bit outside of their capability."
So there are options when it comes to swimming, and staying safe, and if you are questioning your abilities, Crochiere says is probably best to err on the side of caution, "You don't really know your body that well at that point you know and you never know what could happen."
Details of life guards at Seattle Beaches: Life Guards on Duty in Seattle