HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The school year is coming to a close and many families will be spending time at the beach and in pools.

So it’s important to keep water safety in mind.

Not having the proper education when getting into the water can be dangerous, but there are ways to keep you and your loved ones safe.

“It is absolutely imperative that parents and family members take it into their own hands to learn to be water safe and water confident,” Executive Director of Marketing with the Harrisburg Area YMCA Rosie Turner said.

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This summer don’t be surprised if hours are cut short at community pools or facilities. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many lifeguards have not returned causing shortages.

“We’re talking about your public pool, you’re talking about water parks, places like the YMCA, we’re all struggling against the same issue,” Turner said.

This is why it’s even more important that parents lead by example and educate children and others before getting into the water or on a boat.

“Get in the water with your child and teach them what it’s like to be in the water because at the YMCA it’s one environment, but then when you get outside of it that confidence can carry over and it makes you a more parent and your child a more confidant swimmer,” Turner said.

That includes getting proper swimming lessons, certifications, and having lifesaving equipment on hand.

“You need to make sure you know where lifeboats are you need to make sure if your child does need an inflatable device how do you find that quickly or how do you make sure you have that in your site,” Turner said.

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Workers with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission say life jackets can help avoid a dangerous situation.

“Make sure you have a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket and a whistle on board your boat, wearing it is the best thing you can do children should be wearing that life jacket when they’re out there on the boat,” Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission education specialist Adam Spangler said.

The Fish and Boat Commission also says if you go into a large body of water always have a plan and let someone know where you’re going and what time you expect to come back.

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