A walk along Madison's riverfront Monday evening left us feeling pretty good about life.

We saw a young couple holding hands as they walked their dog ... An elderly gentleman sitting on a swing watching a barge pass by ... A small group of senior citizens listening as one man played a guitar ... and, of course, a family with small children enjoying the playground equipment across from Bicentennial Park.

We also saw a few teen-aged boys playing at the bottom of the boat ramp prodding each other to test the cold water.

What those boys found out was that the water was, indeed, cold ... About 45 degrees worth of cold.

We know that as temperatures rise the allure of Ohio River summons us. For some, thoughts turn to getting the boat out of winter storage. Others look forward to their first fishing excursion from the banks of the river.

But, to enjoy the river, one must respect the river.

Fun can be a precarious pastime for those unwilling to recognize the inherent dangers associated with frolicking near, in, or on a body of water.

Swimming, boating and fishing require a certain set of safety skills. Unfortunately, accidents every year serve as reminders of how quickly gladness can be transformed to sadness.

So many of these tragedies are preventable by merely exercising common sense. Before racing to the nearest water's edge this spring, take a moment to contemplate basic safety measures. Don't allow an avoidable accident to spoil your fun.