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River Safety: Take Precautions to Prevent Drowning


With warmer weather in the forecast, we want to remind students and families of the dangers involved in river recreation, especially this time of year. Please keep in mind that rivers are inherently dangerous places to recreate. The water can be high, swift and very cold as snow melts, making staying in control a challenge and hypothermia a real risk. Logs and rocks, both visible and submerged, can cause injury and pose navigation hazards.


If you’re tempted to cool off in the days ahead in local waters, please heed this advice from King County Public Health regarding River Safety Precautions:

  • Wear a life jacket, also called a Personal Flotation Device (PFD).
  • Do not use alcohol or drugs when recreating on the river.
  • Watch children closely when they are on or near any type of water; stay close enough to reach them immediately.
  • Choose safer swimming options with lifeguards present, such as a beach, lake or pool.


When planning a boating or floating trip:

  • Always tell someone your route and when and where you expect to put in and take out.
  • Have a back-up plan for emergency contact in case your trip is cut short by an unforeseen obstacle or emergency.
  • Never float the river alone and, if possible, make sure there is at least one oared craft in your group in case a rescue is needed.
  • Bring a dry bag with food, water, towel, and warm clothes.


For additional King County water safety tips and resources, click here