The days are getting hot, and many people are cooling off by taking a dip in the water, but a recent drowning at Alabama's Little Canyon National Preserve is bringing water safety to the forefront.

Ricardo Perez, 19, of Rome, Georgia died Saturday after authorities said he didn't obey the park's warning not to swim across Little River at Martha's Falls.

In Tennessee, park authorities said those rules are written for a reason.

"If you get hurt or injured, there's no one here to assist the injury," said Booker T. Washington State Park Ranger Lynn Wright.

The CDC said drowning is the fifth leading cause of death by unintentional injury. For children, it's the second leading cause of unintentional injury death.

Accidents can happen, but there are some things you can do to stay safe in unguarded waters.

The CDC recommends that you know the terrain well enough so you can avoid hidden drop offs or obstacles in the water. It said to avoid rip currents. Staying sober will help your judgement, and you never want to swim alone.

"You always want someone to help you. You don't ever want to be alone in a situation that you need some help, you always have somebody there for you," Wright said.

With the official start to summer less than a week away, and plenty of time left for swimming, Wright said it's important to make safety a top priority

"We want everybody to have fun and enjoy themselves, but also to go home at the end of the day," he said.

Little River Canyon officials said Saturday's drowning is the first of 2013. They've had four other rescues in the river corridor this year.

Wright told Channel 3 there has never been a drowning at Booker T. Washington State Park.