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Water Safety Taught at 10th Annual River Fest in Elmira

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Water Safety Taught at 10th Annual River Fest in Elmira
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It's the season when outdoor enthusiasts head to lakes and rivers to enjoy all they have to offer. But many times, common mistakes can put people into the deep end. Time Warner Cable News reporter Crystal Cranmore shares some important safety reminders swimmers and boaters should keep in mind.

ELMIRA, N.Y. -- Entertainment, lots of food, and a scenic trip up and down the Chemung River; it's the perfect combination the Near Westside Association puts on for neighbors on each year.

"I think kids have a lot of fun because they get ice cream, they get to swim and bounce in the bouncy castle," said Anne-Marie Kingsbury, who enjoyed River Fest with her friends.

"I look forward to anything good like this that is happening in our town. We need something for our kids to do," said Jim Voorhees, who brought his kids to the event.

The 10th annual River Fest brings hundreds down to the Chemung River in Elmira each year to celebrate all that the river has to offer.

But as many head to the lakes and rivers this summer, the event also serves as an important reminder to practice water safety.

Friends of the Chemung River Watershed says before boats get out on the water, they should always scope it out first.

"Even if you're familiar with a river, you can come back two weeks later and there could be a tree that fell down, an obstruction," said Jim Pfiffer, the director of Friends of the Chemung River Watershed.

Boaters and swimmers are also advised to wear life jackets. Just last month, a 58-year old woman died after police say her kayak capsized on the Chemung River. She was reportedly not wearing a life preserver.

Saturday, boaters could be seen taking the same risk.

"I don't want people to be afraid of the river, I just want them to learn to respect it and use a little common sense and not overestimate your abilities when you're on the water," said Pfiffer.

Something to think about before venturing out on your next water adventure this summer.

New York State law requires children under 12 to wear a life preserver unless they are in a fully enclosed cabin.

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