By Staff

BOSTON (CBS) — In light of the number of drownings in Massachusetts already this year, Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration is proposing to step up fines for those who are swimming where they shouldn’t be.

Baker has filed legislation to increase maximum fines for anyone who goes in Department of Conservation and Recreation waters not designated for swimming from $200 to $500.

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Baker hopes this will discourage people from taking serious risks this summer.

“Swimming at undesignated waterfronts is dangerous and too often leads to tragic consequences, and this legislation is part of a comprehensive plan to discourage risky behavior and ensure the safety of visitors to our state parks and beaches,” Baker said in a statement. “While we encourage all to visit our beautiful coastal and inland beaches, we urge the public to exercise caution and not swim at any body of water that has not been designated for swimming by state or local authorities.”

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Massachusetts is offering free swimming lessons in multiple locations around the state in the wake of the drownings – click here for a complete list.

The state is also trying to recruit more lifeguards by bumping hourly pay. DCR will be increasing lifeguard pay from $17-$18 an hour to $20-$21 an hour, and offering $500 bonuses to those who work a full season.

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