(WTRF) - Although it may not look like it with a few rainy days, summer is almost here.
That means more people will be swimming, not only in pools, but other natural bodies of water.
But with several drownings in recent years, emergency officials urge swimmers to be careful where take a dip to cool off.
"Enjoy the environment, enjoy what the Ohio Valley and Marshall County has to offer naturally, but you want to be safe and use precautions when you're doing that," said Marshall County Emergency Management Director Tom Hart.
While some of these areas are great for fishing, they're not safe to get in the water because you never know what's under the surface.
"In some cases where they were initially flooding and that there were actually trees there or other types of natural debris that was never removed, stones and rocks things like that, so you really don't know what is actually on the bottom," Hart explained.
Hart said to use caution even in places that are known spots for swimming because conditions can change.
A few other safety tips to remember:
-Never swim where there are posted "No Trespassing" signs
-Wear protective gear like a life vest
-Never swim alone
-Don't drink when you plan to swim in open water.
"Alcohol and swimming sometimes really don't mix too well, so it's just better to air on the side of caution," urged Hart. "Make sure you're with a group you're with some friends and that and just keep an eye on each other."
Some popular swimming spots in the Ohio Valley are off the beaten path, so it's especially important to be with a group.
"There's no cell service and it could be a while before you can actually reach help or actually be able to call for help," added Hart.
Officials also said to also keep an eye on weather conditions. Inclement weather can create choppy waters, especially on the river, which isn't safe for swimmers.
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