Water Safety for Lakes, Rivers, and Beaches in Washington State
At any time of year, Washington waters can be appealing and dangerous at the same time. Stay safe in the water this summer by practicing the following water safety tips.
Know the Water:
- Water that is warm on the surface, may be much colder below.
- Use caution when swimming and always supervise young children playing in or near the water.
- Rivers may not be moving as fast, but log jams can trap swimmers and large rocks and logs could tip over rafts, canoes, and kayaks.
- Illnesses can be prevented by not swallowing the water
Know Your Limits:
- Swimming in open water (lakes, rivers, ponds, or the ocean) is always harder than in a pool. People get tired faster and there are more unseen obstacles that can lead to dangerous situations.
- It is harder to spot someone under murky water.
- Avoid swimming in rapid currents or where two rivers come together because even if the current looks slow, it is more likely for you to be swept away or drown.
- If you are not a good swimmer, you should swim where a life-guard is present.
- Be aware that there are sudden drop-offs in most lakes and rivers. People that are not strong swimmers or can’t swim, have slipped into deeper water and drowned.
- While boating, be careful to not overload the boat.
- There are many ways people can fall overboard while fishing, hunting, or pulling up a crab pot, so be sure to wear a well fitted life jacket at all times.
- Stay sober when in or near the water. Alcohol and other drugs can increase the effects of weather, temperature, and wave action on you.
Life Jacket Safety:
- Children 12 years old and under must wear a fitted life jacket on moving boats less than 19 feet in length in Washington.
- Recreational boats must carry a life jacket for each person on the boat. The life jacket must also be available and accessible. This is a nationwide Coast Guard rule.