Swim safely, say municipal cops

On May 15 the swimming season started officially in Latvia, with eight stations in the capital Riga opening full with certified coast guards and rescue boats. 

Last year, municipal rescuers saved thirteen people from drowning, said Riga Municipal Police head Juris Lūkass. The swimming season is usually tragic in Latvia as the Fire and Rescue Service pulled 110 bodies from the water last year

Lūkass said that Rigans swim in many places other than the officially designated areas and that the Municipal Police will try to monitor those as well.

"There are many places in the city which Rigans have taken a liking to as places for recreation, however we cannot ensure the presence of rescuers in each and every one of them," he said.

"That's why we've made a mobile patrol that will monitor these places and ensure public order, and, if necessary, carry out rescue works," said Lūkass. 

Each of the stations will have two to five rescuers, as well as a motorboat present so that swimmers can enjoy a safe dip, revealed Aleksandrs Timoškevičs, a rescue specialist at the Riga Municipal Police.

He admitted that there's currently a small shortage of staff with four vacancies for rescuers available. 

Swimming areas are plentiful in Riga. The oldest ones in Vecāķi and Ķīšezers are operating from the Soviet era. The most recent one opened in Rumbula a few years ago.

While the beaches at Lucavsala and Ķīpsala are very central, both lying a short stroll away from Old Riga. 

Here's a map of places to swim in Latvia by the State Health Inspection:

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