Friday, June 11, 2010

Be Cautious When Swimming in Local Parks

If you are living in the Pacific Northwest right now, you are probably anxiously awaiting the return of the sun.  We have already had record rainfall for the month of June, but tomorrow promises to be beautiful! 

With this in mind, Clark County issued a press release today which has some key guidance for swimming and boating in local waterways.  It reads as follows: 

Many Clark County beaches are currently underwater as a result of recent rains, snowmelt and water released from dams. The Columbia River is running cold and fast, and recreationists are urged to check conditions before swimming or boating which are listed below. 

High and swift water can easily overwhelm strong swimmers. Cold water increases the risks of drowning and hypothermia, a condition that can become life threatening when the body temperature drops.

There will be no lifeguards at the regional parks this summer, so swimmers should take extra precautions and children should be supervised at all times. Clark County Public Health and Vancouver-Clark Parks & Recreation urge people to observe the following water safety guidelines throughout the swimming season:

Drowning prevention

Know the water – Washington state waters are cold enough to cause hypothermia even on the hottest summer day. Hypothermia can weaken even the strongest swimmer.

Know your limits – drowning often happens when a person tires while swimming. 

Wear a life jacket when swimming anywhere without lifeguards or whenever you boat, jet ski, go tubing or do other water sports.

Ensure that children are wearing lifejackets. Inflatable toys and mattresses will not keep children safe. By law, children ages 12 or younger must wear a Coast Guard approved life jacket or vest on all vessels 18 feet or shorter.

Never leave children unsupervised in or near the water, even for a minute. Drownings happen swiftly and silently.

Always avoid alcohol when swimming or boating.

Avoid swimming in potentially dangerous areas such as fast flowing rivers or ocean beaches with riptides.

Don’t dive into shallow water or unfamiliar swimming holes.

Cover your spa when not in use. Ponds, five-gallon buckets, and wading pools are also drowning hazards for young children.

Additional information

Local swimming areas:

Boating safety:

River conditions in Southwest Washington:®ions=wa

Columbia River conditions at Vancouver:,00065

East Fork Lewis River conditions:,00065

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