Tips for staying safe on the water this July 4th weekend

Published: Jul. 1, 2022 at 4:57 PM PDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - It’s already looking like a perfect weekend to get outside and enjoy the water. However, with many people hitting local rivers, lakes and waterway, officials are warning people to be safe and smart this weekend.

“The water is running higher and its cold,” Chastity Stern, the squad leader for the Clark County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Under Water Recovery Team, said. “You can have what’s called a laryngospasm which is where the larynx can close down and you have initial shock of gasping so water can enter the airway and the lungs.”

Stern’s team and the MCSO are gearing up for a busy weekend.

“We are planning ahead and we’ll have additional staffing on our waterways for the weekend but again we also rely on the public to do their part in staying safe,” Sergeant Stephen Dangler said. The number one thing they ask is that everyone wear a personal flotation device.

“Even myself with doing a lot of swim rescue techniques and having swim rescue skillset, I use a flotation device whenever I’m in the water simply because when you end up in the water you may not know how long you’re going to be in the water for,” Dangler said.

If you do see someone struggling to swim or appearing to drown, follow these steps, reach, throw, row, go. Try to reach the person first with a pole or shepherd’s f you can. Next, throw them a flotation device or something that can float with a rope to pull the person in. If you still can’t get to the person, row out to them on a kayak or paddle board and bring them a PFD. Your last resort should be to swim to the person. If it comes to that, you need to be wearing a PFD as well so that you don’t become a victim yourself.

“The last thing you want to do is actually get in the water with them because that is extremely dangerous and a lot of people really overestimate what their capabilities might be especially when it comes to not only swimming for yourself but having to pull someone in along with you,” Dangler said.