Officials urge public to practice water safety as Labor Day crowds flock to area beaches

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RACINE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Summer may be on its last legs, but you'll still see crowds at the beaches on days like Labor Day.

We've reported several drownings this summer. That's why officials continue to remind us to be safe and wear life jackets.

Dozens of families are out with the little ones Monday, Sept. 6. They want them to have fun but be safe, so they're making sure they all have the proper gear to go play.

Moms, dads and children flocked to North Beach on Labor Day.

Despite the fun in the sun, Racine officials are warning people to be cautious whether swimming or out on a boat.

"You should probably stay in water that suits you, your abilities, don't go in over your head," said Sgt. Dan Hogan with the Racine County Sheriff's Office. "If you're not able to swim well, you should always swim with a friend."

Four people drowned in Racine this summer -- one person at Zoo Beach and three at North Beach.

Last month, Racine organizations worked together to bring complimentary life jackets to the beaches, hoping to encourage people to use them.

"It's a nice option for families who maybe don't have them," said beachgoer Becky Misanin. 

Sgt. Hogan says even if your child has a life jacket, don't turn away.

"Parents should not take their eyes off their kids while they are in the water," he said.

Lindsey Ray says she has a strategy when she takes the kids to the beach.

"I think it's really important to not rely on the flotation devices and to just have eyes on every child at all times," said Ray. "I have three adults for three kids. And if we switch, we verbalize who switching, who has them."

As summer comes to end soon, Racine Sgt. Hogan says the unfortunate drownings should be a lesson for next summer.

"What we can take from this as a community is that we can learn from it and we can learn there are some tragic things that can happen on this lake, people should take that seriously."

Lifeguards are no longer on the beaches, but those life jackets are still available until October. 

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