Summertime Safe Water Recreation
In recent years, Washington has ranked in the top 5 for all states for boating fatalities. This is not a ranking we want to see repeated this summer! However, as temperatures rise many head to the water for relief and refreshment. However, even when the temps skyrocket past 100, the water temperatures can remain quite frigid due to mountain run-off. In fact, many rivers will still have temps in the 40’s or 50’s (and sometimes colder!) right now. This is especially true with the cooler spring we had this year. These temperatures can easily cause cold-water shock, which can lead to drowning.
Be Safe, Wear a Life Jacket
Even the most experienced boater and swimmer should wear a life jacket when out on the water. In particular, small craft such as kayaks, canoes and SUPs are the most vulnerable to capsizing suddenly. Sudden immersion in cold water makes it difficult, if not impossible, for people to keep their heads above water and stay afloat – even if they are an experienced swimmer. However, the simple act of donning a life jacket will keep your head above the water and could save your life.
Hot Weather, Cold Water Tips
There are a few tips to follow to increase your safety when the weather is warm and the water is cold.
- Keep Hydrated: Always drink a lot of water. You will become quickly dehydrated in the sun.
- Bring Snacks: snacks will replace lost electrolytes and calories.
- Always wear sunscreen: the sun is even more brutal reflecting off the water. Wear water-resistant sunscreen and reapply it often.
- Take breaks: dehydration can sneak up on you really fast. It’s wise to take frequent breaks in the shade.
- Keep your eyes on the water: wear sunglasses for good vision and watch out for others recreating in the water.
- Always wear a leash: For stand-up paddleboards, a leash is an absolute necessity. Staying tethered provides extra flotation and a chance to stay alive in an accident.
- Stay sober: You may love a cold beer on a hot day, but never use alcohol or drugs when boating or when floating in a river. Operating a boat under the influence impairs survival reflexes and decision-making skills.
- Don’t go alone: having someone with you can make a life or death difference in case of an accident.