There's nothing like swimming in natural bodies of water during the summertime. I remember as a kid my parents would take me to various lakes throughout the Berkshires, We would pack up the beach bag, cooler, towels, beach toys, blankets, snacks, lawn chairs, life jackets (though I never wanted to use them) and of course the boom box...and head out to a beach for several hours as we soaked up the sun and had splashing fun.

As a kid, I was pretty curious when I would swim in lakes. I always wondered what it would be like to swim past the roped off areas. You know what I'm taking about. It was a thrill to swim up to the rope and sometimes beyond it. The water in that area was a little cooler, a little deeper, a little more exciting. To be honest, I did swim past the rope once or twice (okay more times than I can count) and I would get whistled at by a lifeguard and yelled at by my folks to get back in the designated swimming area. I can't imagine I'm the only one who has done this. Let's be honest, you tried this too.

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Nowadays, if you try pulling this stunt, you not only get a whistle blast from a lifeguard, you get fined very heavily. Because of the fact that more and more drownings have occurred throughout the State of Massachusetts, Governor Baker filed legislation in early July to increase the fine from the $20 to $200 range to a solid maximum of $500.

So, if you're a Massachusetts resident and you're swimming at Massachusetts state parks or beaches it may be okay to think outside the box but unless you want to get blasted with a $500 fine, stay within the lines.

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