With high temperatures in the forecast for the weekend, Clark County Public Health is reminding people to take caution in and around water – especially area lakes and rivers. In spring and early summer, lakes and rivers in Southwest Washington are still cold, and water may be moving quickly.
“Even as temperatures rise, lakes and rivers are still cold enough to shock and immobilize even the strongest swimmers,” said Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County health officer and Public Health director.
Public Health urges people of all ages to follow these tips for safe swimming and recreating in all bodies of water this weekend and throughout the summer:
• Know your limits. Drowning often occurs when swimmers tire.
• Avoid fast-flowing waters, including rivers and ocean beaches with riptides.
• Don’t swim alone.
• Avoid distractions when children are swimming or around water. Children should be supervised by adults anytime they are in or around water. Supervision requires complete attention, even if another adult is present. Drowning can happen swiftly and silently.
• Wear a life jacket. Children, teens and adults should wear life jackets while boating, using a personal watercraft, inner tubing or while using other water sports equipment. Life jackets should also be worn while swimming in lakes, rivers or the ocean. By law, children 12 years and younger must wear a US Coast Guard-approved life jacket or vest on all vessels 18 feet or smaller.
• Avoid alcohol and marijuana use when swimming or boating.
• Don’t dive into shallow water or jump off bridges or cliffs.
• Swim in designated swimming areas only. Signs will be viewable letting you know when and where it’s safe to swim.
• Teach children how to swim. Enroll children in swim lessons when they are ready. Early and often swim lessons will teach children the skills needed to stay safe while in and around water.