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Officials urge to use common sense around water-related activities during holiday

Local officials are urging water safety ahead of the busy Fourth of July weekend, when more people are expected to be on the water than usual.

This area has already seen a few of water-related deaths in 2019.

Two people have drowned at West Point Lake in 2019 —a 34-year-old Jonesboro man and a 56-year-old woman from LaGrange.

Another person, a 37-year-old Henagar woman, died in a kayaking accident on the Chattahoochee River in Harris County in April.

Sgt. Stewart Smith with the Troup County Sheriff’s Office said it’s important to follow basic water safety guidelines, such as not drinking and driving a boat, having life jackets prepared and keeping an eye on children around the lake.

Smith also said to remember that children under 13 must wear a life jacket.

“If you have young kids out there, always keep an eye on them,” Smith said. “They could sneak away. We have had situations like that.”

Around the holidays, there are typically more people on the water, and Smith said the sheriff’s office  will have its boats deployed throughout the weekend.

The TCSO will also have a heavy presence at the fireworks event at Pyne Road Park in Troup County on Thursday.

The American Red Cross also recommends knowing your limitations in any body of water — whether that’s the beach or the lake — protecting your neck by not diving headfirst, and not panicking in rip currents at the ocean.

The Red Cross also recommends swimming in areas where a lifeguard is present and having a swimming buddy rather than swimming alone.