Hot weather is on tap for the weekend, and that means Clark County beaches are sure to draw crowds for a swim. But even on hot days, most rivers and lakes in Southwest Washington remain cold.
Cold water, especially when high or swift, can overtake even the strongest swimmer in minutes.
On the Columbia River, Frenchman’s Bar Regional Park and Captain William Clark Regional Park at Cottonwood Beach, are not safe for swimming because of strong currents and sudden drop-offs.
Swimming is allowed at several county parks, but only one park, Salmon Creek Regional Park-Klineline Pond, has certified lifeguards. The popular spray feature will open for public use on June 20.
Lifeguards will be on duty the final two weekends of the month, June 20-21 and June 27-28. Beginning July 1, lifeguards will be on duty daily at Klineline Pond, typically from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
If your weekend plans include a trip to a local swimming hole, here are some safety tips:
§ Know the water. Even on hot days, Washington waters can be cold enough to cause the body temperature to fall to a dangerously low level.
§ Know your limits. Drowning often occurs when swimmers are tired.
§ Wear a life jacket when swimming anywhere without lifeguards, on a boat, personal watercraft, inner tube or other water sports equipment.
§ Ensure children wear life jackets. Inflatable toys and mattresses will not keep children safe. By law, children 12 and younger must wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket or vest on all vessels 18 feet or smaller.
§ Never leave children unsupervised in or near water, even for a minute. Children need constant supervision around water, including ponds, buckets and wading pools. Drowning can happen swiftly and silently.
§ Avoid alcohol when swimming or boating. Alcohol consumption is not allowed in county parks without county and state permits.
§ Avoid 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. If you have a pool, be sure a fence or other barrier prevents unauthorized entry.
Ways to stay cool
Swimming at Clark County Parks:
Swimming pool safety: www.doh.wa.gov/CommunityandEnvironment/WaterRecreation/PoolSafety
Staying cool during hot weather: www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/EmergencyPreparednessandResponse/Factsheets/HotWeatherSafety
Information shared from Clark County Public Health