As 90-degree temperatures heat up Camas and Washougal again this week, Southwest Washington Organization of Rescue Divers member Doug Young hopes swimmers pay attention to the hazards before they plunge into nearby lakes and rivers.
The number-one safety tip on Young’s list is to wear a life jacket. He said there are a variety of specialty jackets that make swimming safe and enjoyable. Auto-inflatable jackets fill up when the person wearing it is in the water. The rest of the time, it can be worn comfortably.
Young encourages people to be cautious of their surroundings before jumping or diving in. He said wearing a wet suit keeps swimmers warm in the water and adds buoyancy. He also suggests that groups of swimmers should have a spotter who doesn’t swim.
Young said a “throw bag” comes in handy. If a swimmer is in trouble, a person on land can toss this nylon bag with a rope attached into the water and pull the victim to safety.
“Have an understanding of your swimming ability so you don’t get in over your head,” Young said. “I wish there was a magical formula other than wear your life jacket. That’s really what it all boils down to.”