That's the results of a survey.
There's some sobering results from a poll conducted for the American Red Cross. The survey found that half of the respondents have never taken formal swimming lessons.
"One of the most shocking findings from this Red Cross study was that over 90% of people didn't know the steps to take when they saw someone having trouble in the water," says Doug Lent, spokesman for the Chesapeake Region of the American Red Cross. "We want folks to take a Red Cross swimming class not just for themselves, but their friends and family too."
Lent says you can go to www.redcross.org to find which swimming instructors in your area are Red Cross certified. They will teach students basic swimming skills, and what they can do if a family member or friend is having trouble in the water.
This is important, he says, since a number of people who took part in the survey for the Red Cross will be taking some risks when they go swimming this summer. "More than two-thirds of them will be swimming in places where there's not a lifeguard present," he says. "And it's important that somebody know what to do."
The signs that a swimmer is in trouble are: treading water and waving an arm; doggie paddling with no forward progress; hanging on to a safety line; floating on their backs and waving their arms; arms extended side or front, pressing down for support, but making no progress; positioned vertically in the water, but not kicking their legs; underwater for more than 30-seconds; and floating at the surface, face down, for more than 30-seconds.
On Monday, a 15-year-old boy drowned while swimming at the Rocky Gorge Reservoir, where it's prohibited. Authorities say he was heard calling for help around 4:00 PM. A few hours later, rescuers retrieved his body. The teenager was pronounced dead at the scene.
Lent says it's important for anyone whose taking to the water this summer not to go into areas where it's prohibited. "There's plenty of good, safe places to swim in your area. So take the time to only go to those places, and do it right, do it safely," he says.
Other findings from the survey include 67% believing that putting inflatable arm bands or water wings on children will protect them when their parents are not around; and that nearly half of Americans said they had an experience where they were afraid they were going to drown.
The telephone survey for the Red Cross was conducted on April 11-14, 2013 by ORC International's CARAVAN survey using a landline-cell dual-face sampling design. Participants were 18 years of age or older.