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      Stay safe on the water this summer

      It may be hot, but that isn't going to stop Southeast Iowans from flocking to beaches and lakes this weekend and on the Fourth of July holiday.

      Rivers and lakes will be flooded with boaters, kayakers and swimmers, and with more people out on the water, it's important to keep safety in mind. At Honey Creek Resort in Moravia, instructors make sure guests are prepared to get on the water.

      "Initially, you know, you have to have a good fitting life jacket, that's pretty important, especially when you're out in something you haven't been out in," said Naturalist Jacob Ahee. "We teach them how to use their whole body when they kayak as opposed to just their arms because you don't want people tiring out and just teach people to be calm and keep their weight low so you don't tip the kayaks when they're out there."

      There is a proper way to get into and out of the kayak, and once you have that down, the biggest concern on the water is not tipping over.

      "When they tip, they're built in such a way that you actually fall out of them, you're not trapped in them, you're not stuck in them," Ahee said. "They don't have the waterproof skirts that go around them like some of the sea kayaks do, so you kind of just, as you tip, you roll out of it. What we do is tell them to swim to shore if we're close enough, otherwise the instructor's kayaks have tow ropes and we can tow them in to get the kayak dry and then we get them right back out."

      Most important when waters are busy is being cautious around other boaters and being mindful and attentive to your surroundings.

      "We are kind of the pedestrians of the waterway, so we technically are supposed to have the right of way, we don't know how many boaters know that, so we give them a wide berth and stay as far away as we can," Ahee said. "We try not to impact people that are fishing, we try to give them their own space too, so as long as everybody stays out of everybody's way, it's usually fine."

      Honey Creek's Kayaking 101 and Family Kayaking classes are not just for guests, so anyone can sign up and take the class. They teach other classes Tuesday through Saturday, and for a full list of events and classes, visit their website .

      Summer is a great time to take advantage of Iowa's parks and lakes, so stay safe and have fun.