Emergency Management agencies and first responders are warning the public about the dangers of swimming in the region's lakes and rivers during this weekend's unseasonably hot weather.

Shawn Ballard, co-owner and EMT at Ballard Ambulance, says even though the weather might be warm, the local waters are anything but.

"It's a perfect setup for disaster this weekend where we have the hot temperatures and people are thinking 'it feels like summer and I'm going to go swimming' and they jump in the water and it is still extremely cold coming off of the snowmelt. We often times will see people get themselves in a lot of trouble or drown during these kinds of conditions."

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Ballard says anyone who jumps or accidentally falls into the water is at risk for hypothermia and cold water shock.

"It's a condition that's really debilitating to your muscles. It makes you weak and can send you into a state of shock. Often times people's heart rates will speed up and their blood pressure could be affected by the cold. The main thing to remember is that's it's just really hard on the body and debilitating and it's a position that you do not want to put yourself in because you could easily die."

Ballard says the currents in the region's rivers, creeks, and streams also present a hazard for swimmers and those trying to cool down from the heat.

Emergency management officials say those who do choose to head out on the water this weekend should wear a life jacket and not go alone.

Eight Water Safety Tips to Keep You Afloat This Summer

Beach and pool days have arrived on the SouthCoast, and it's always important to know how to keep yourself, and your family, safe while spending time around water. This summer, keep these water safety tips in mind, courtesy of the Massachusetts State Police Dive Team.

Gallery Credit: Kari Jakobsen

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