KING COUNTY, Wash. – Our area’s first responders know the public has heard this message before – but they said you need to hear it again.
Be careful when getting out on the water this weekend.
Record snowpack in the mountains means the waters are still cold enough to pose a danger to your family.
“Our first high temperatures that we’ve seen in quite a while and the water is still very, very cold,” said King County Sheriff’s Deputy Mark Rorvick with the Marine Rescue Dive Unit.
Even if you’re dying to get on your paddle board, Rorvick warns our area’s rivers and lakes can still be dangerous for your family.
“I’m very concerned that we’re going to have a drowning incident this weekend,” he said.
It’s been a tragic year already on the water.
Last month a teenager drowned after going over some falls in the Snoqualmie River. In Pierce County a fisherman standing on the Puyallup River bank somehow fell in and didn’t resurface. Neither victims were wearing life jackets.
And as temperatures are forecast to go into the 90s this weekend, first responders are also concerned alcohol and drugs can take the levels of risk on the water only higher.
“The motion of the water, the noise, the fresh air – it all contributes to enhance the intoxication level. And not just alcohol, but also marijuana,” said Rorvick. “That’s also being used out on the water.”
Officials stressed that people should never swim alone. Also, they stressed that swimming in open waters like lakes or rivers is harder than in a swimming pool – saying even strong swimmers can get tired and get into trouble more quickly. Rivers and lakes often have hazards that swimmers can’t see from the surface, too