GENERIC: beach, lake

Labor Day is the unofficial end of summer and some people will be enjoying a long weekend.

Some will be heading to Lake Michigan to get in one last day at the beach.

According to a water safety expert, the Great Lakes are on par to have a record number of drownings this year.

It’s important to know what to do if you ever are in a situation of panic.

If you do find yourself panicking in the water, you should do three things:

Flip onto your back

Float to keep your head above water

Follow a safe path out of the water.

“We have to do the opposite of your instinct,” said Dave Benjamin, a water safety expert. “What we do is tell you to roll over on your back, get your chest to the water, float and take some deep breathes. If you want to survive a drowning incident, you have to stay at the surface and continue breathing.”

Currently, there have been 36 drownings in Lake Michigan in just the past year.

Last year there were 27.

Since 2010, there have been more than 816 drownings.

Only a small percentage of drownings happen during dangerous conditions, the rest happen when people swim in water above their head or fall off a boat.

So although the water may seem calm this weekend, the risk for drowning remains about the same.

If you’re in the water with a friend and you see them start struggling, do not use your own body to keep them above water.

Tell them to calm down and flip on their backs.

Benjamin said it’s not a sprint to get out of the water, it’s a marathon.

Copyright 2019 WSBT via CBS. All rights reserved.

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