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Go Swim, Georgia: Cool off, swim safely in Georgia waters
Atlanta, May 20, 2010 – As the heat of summer approaches and more people head outside, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) encourages families to get outdoors and “Go Swim!” Whether you are splashing in a creek, jumping off a dock or swimming at a state park beach, Georgia has plenty of places for you to cool off.

“Swimming has always been a popular way for families to enjoy summertime,” said DNR Commissioner Chris Clark. “There are many swimming opportunities in our state parks and on Georgia lakes and rivers. But we encourage everyone to make sure they’re safe when they’re in the water.”

Stay cool and save money
Georgia’s state parks have more than 20 swimming beaches and pools where visitors can cool off this summer. For just a $5 parking fee, visitors can spend the entire day at a sandy lakeside beach while soaking in some of the state’s most relaxing scenery. Beaches have no lifeguards, so swimmers are strongly urged to stay within boundary ropes marking off the swimming areas. Some of the most popular lakeside beaches are at Vogel, John Tanner, Seminole, Unicoi, Hard Labor Creek, Fort Mountain and Richard B. Russell state parks.

Swimmers who prefer an aqua-blue pool can visit High Falls, Victoria Bryant and Magnolia Springs state parks, and those who love history can take a chilly dip in the spring-fed Liberty Bell Pool at F.D. Roosevelt State Park. A small fee is charged and lifeguards are provided. Most pools are open Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. However, days of operation vary, so swimmers should call ahead before visiting. Overnight lodge guests at George T. Bagby and Little Ocmulgee state parks can enjoy the lodge pools for no additional fee. These pools do not have lifeguards.

To quickly see which state parks have swimming beaches or pools, visit http://www.gastateparks.org/content/georgia/pdf/2010chart.pdf.


Remember Safety First When Swimming
Accidents happen all too often, so DNR encourages everyone to practice safety at all times when in and around the water. Some swimming safety tips include:
- Take a swimming course.
- Never swim alone. If you are a marginal swimmer, wear a flotation device.
- Don't mix alcohol or drugs when swimming.
- Never let children swim unsupervised.
- Keep life jackets accessible and never make someone feel uncomfortable if they choose to wear a life jacket.
- Don't swim when you are too tired, too cold or too far from safety.
- Don’t swim beyond marked boundaries at swimming beaches.
- Always be aware of the possibilities of hidden dangers such as underwater obstacles, changing currents and underwater drop-offs.
- When you find yourself in a stressful situation, don't panic. If in non-flowing water, float or "dog-paddle" to safety. If in flowing water, float with the current and don't fight against it.

Prevention and common sense can help prevent water-related tragedies. To learn more about water safety, visit the Red Cross at www.redcross.org.


“Go Swim, Georgia” is the latest in a series of outdoor adventure tips from DNR Commissioner Clark that highlight affordable getaways, outdoor activities close to home, and creative ways to support conservation in Georgia. The series is part of DNR’s “Get Outdoors, Georgia” initiative, which encourages citizens to lead healthy, active lifestyles in the great outdoors and includes hiking, biking and paddling clubs, as well as outdoor events.

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