Northwest NEWS

July 15, 2002

Local News

River users cautioned to plan ahead before taking the plunge

King County is reminding river enthusiasts - boaters, swimmers and even hikers - to use caution near the water this summer.
   Not only is high, fast and cold river water characteristic of late spring and early summer, but many of King County's rivers contain large amounts of woody debris that can be extremely hazardous to river users. Fallen trees can prevent dangerous obstables to rafts and inner-tubes, and can trap or pull swimmers under water.
   The county cautions those that boat, swim or inner-tube in our local rivers to become familiar with conditions in the river before jumping in.
   Useful safety tips for those planning a day on the river:
   1. Scout the river before you start - Look for fallen logs, protruding rocks and blocked areas. Note any blocked or inaccessible areas. Make a rough map of the bends in the river.
   2. Buddy up and designate meeting places - Know where your group is to start and finish the rafting/inner-tubing trip. Stick with a buddy.
   3. Make sure everyone is equipped with an approved life jacket - Even advanced swimmers should wear their life jacket at all times.
   4. Never use alcohol or drugs while boating or doing any other water sport.
   5. Always let a friend or family member know where you will start on the river and where you plan to get out.
   6. Children and those who can't swim should not go into the river.
   For more information , check www.dnr/metrokc.gov/wlr/flood/boaters.html.