Some people describe Louisiana as a water-lover's paradise, but according to the CDC, the state has one of the highest drowning rates in the country.
The month of May is dedicated to "National Water Safety Month," an awareness initiative designed to educate people about the dangers and precautions they should take with water.
Lafayette is home to the Marine Survival Training Center (MSTC), an emergency training school where anyone can get access to hands-on water safety training.
Arron Davies is a Safety Diver at the MSTC and a member of U L's waterski team. Davies said he and his colleagues help people get over their fear of water and build confidence in themselves.
"I would definitely consider going to your local swimming pool, asking for help if you need swimming lessons, I would get that for sure" Davies said. "Also, here at Marine Survival, we're taking students all the time for any type of water activity."
Terry Crownover is the director of MSTC. Crownover said students can take a course on how to escape a helicopter that dives into a body of water and just about any other water-related activity.
"We had been working with petroleum personnel in the beginning," Crownover said. "But, due to our training, we also work with military, we also work with law enforcement, air-med units, anybody who finds themselves on the water, in the water and would like to give themselves a chance to survive."
According to the CDC, there are more than 4,000 fatal, unintentional drownings, including boating-related drownings, every year.
Crownover said MSTC instructors accept new students on an ongoing basis.
For more information on water safety courses, please visit Marine Survival Training Center (louisiana.edu).