New Site Updates Duluth Beachgoers on Water Dangers

By KBJR News 1

July 19, 2012 Updated Jul 19, 2012 at 7:04 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - While common sense--like the regular application of sunscreen, or having a swimming buddy--can help keep you safer from the more obvious dangers, it's what can't be seen, and the belief that you're safe, that can make everything change in the blink of an eye.

According to water safety officials at the expo, rip currents continue to pose one of the biggest threats to swimmers this summer, as they can occur randomly--given the right weather conditions--and without paying close attention to the warning flags posted at beach entrances, you could find yourself caught in one.

Danger even exists on the microscopic level, as potentially deadly bacteria, like E. Coli, can contaminate water. Without checking the regular updates on water conditions, you could be putting yourself at serious risk.

Even monitoring your friends, or children, while swimming isn't always enough, as drowning incidents can occur, right in front of you, without your even knowing it.

"We see drownings in movies, and on TV, where people are splashing around, and yelling and making all this noise, and that's not what drowning looks like. It's quiet—it's silent. It might look like your kid is having fun. There's been parents that have watched their kids drown," said Jesse Schomberg, water safety expert with the Minnesota Sea Grant.

Schomberg added that, for situations where life guards are not on duty, having a supervisor, or swim partner, that is able to respond in an emergency could be the difference between life and death.

A new, informative website--ParkPointBeach.org--has been set up this year, and contains daily updated information... such as UV index, rip current risk, bacteria warnings, wave heights... basically, everything you would need to know about your day at the beach, before you're even there.