A springtime warning: Warmer weather doesn’t mean warm water

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DES MOINES, Wash. -- Our near-record warmth has just about everyone heading out doors, but a warning tonight from the King County Sheriff’s Office Marine Rescue Unit.  Our water temperatures are still significantly colder than the air temperature – about 20 degrees older.

“Everybody’s out, there’s a guy feeding their birds, walking their dogs,” said Des Moines resident Kathy Cutler.

But King County Sheriff's Deputy Benjamin Callahan says don’t get too close to the water.

“The water’s still 53 degrees,” said Callahan.

With any water under 70 degrees, Callahan shares this one-ten-one rule.

“You’ve got about one minute to get control of your breathing. You have about 10 minutes until your muscles start failing and then you have about one hour before hypothermia sets in,” said Callahan.

The King County Sheriff's Office says they get the most calls and see the most concerns as boating season begins really when kids get out of school or any three-day weekend.

“Seemingly strong swimmer who falls into the river can lose use of their muscles very, very quickly -- that and swift water environments are very, very dangerous,” said Callahan.

Area rivers and the Puget Sound always stay cold.  Callahan says young men and the elderly are most likely to not wear lifevests and drown.

“The situations when you’re going to need it and you won’t have time to reach for it or think of it,” said Callahan.

Lake Sammamish is the first in our area to heat up, but that doesn’t happen until mid-summer.

“It’s freezing. It’s like a cold glass of ice water. It’s cold,” said Sammamish resident Jennifer Kijanka.

Just last month, two JBLM soldiers were killed in kayaks in what’s been described as a boating incident on American Lake.

That’s why avid kayaker Jackie Alvarez isn’t taking any chances.

“I’m really careful about wearing a life jacket. I pick really quiet, nice days. I’d rather not kayak in this,” said Alvarez.

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