Officials stress water safety after recent incidents on Smith Mountain Lake

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SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE, Va. (WDBJ7) -- As summer winds down and kids head back to school, this time of year is still a busy one at our local lakes.

After recent incidents at Smith Mountain Lake, officials are talking water safety.

WDBJ7 has been told by the Smith Mountain Lake Marine Volunteer Fire Rescue Squad that there has been an uptick in the number, and severity, of incidents in just the last few weeks.

That includes two drownings, one of which involved a 9-year-old playing on a floating trampoline.

Two teens were also seriously hurt when their jet-skis collided.

The rescue squad says people falling from decks and docks has been an issue as well.

WDBJ7 asked Bedford County Fire and Rescue officials how you can stay safe.

"Life jackets really for everybody. I know it's required for kids, not required for all adults. But you can't go wrong wearing a life jacket,” Bedford County Fire Marshal Jeff Pauley said.

Another tip: avoid alcohol anywhere near the water.

Officials say water and alcohol do not mix.

Above all things be aware and alert of people in your group and your surroundings.
If you see a problem call 911 first, then try to help with things like CPR.

Pauley says there are a few things you can do before you go out on the water to keep yourself, and others, safe.

"Certainly safe boating classes are important, they're required for almost any operator in Virginia, there might be a couple of exceptions. You can't beat swimming lessons, and you can't beat CPR lessons," Pauley said.