Too safe for H2O

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 16, 2006

Yesterday, Brandon Smith made another special visit to the Demopolis Public Library and this time, he brought a special friend with him.

Smith and his pal Buddy Beaver came from the local Corps of Engineers to teach area children all about water safety.

In order to show how to properly wear a life jacket, Smith used three volunteers in a brief neon fashion show.

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“Always wear a life jacket and make sure it fits,” he told the children and parents. “There is a number on every jacket that says how much weight it can handle. If it doesn’t fit, it won’t work.”

Smith also warned students to never go swimming in bad weather and proved that drunk boating is just as dangerous as drunk driving after allowing a select few to wear “drunk goggles.”

“First learn how to…”

“Swim,” the students said as they finished Smith’s sentence.

“Always wear a…”

“Life jacket,” they shouted out.

“Always go swimming with a…”

“Buddy,” the children screamed.

“And never get on a boat with someone who’s been drinking…”

“Beer,” they giggled with thoughts of their friends stumbling as they wore the “drunk goggles.”

However, if children are ever in a situation when their friends need to be helped, Smith provided a rhyme for them to remember – “Reach, throw, don’t go.”

This simple phrase reminds youth, and adults, not to go into the water to save a person. The first step is to reach with paddle, fishing pole, or branch, to see if the person could be pulled back in.

If that doesn’t work, throw something to the person that will help keep them afloat, but never jump in after them.

After all the victim is in a panic, and will grab anything to keep them afloat – including you.