Be wise on the water: County safety campaign begins

The promise of long summer days in the Pacific Northwest might have residents thinking about heading out for a quick swim or raft trip. But it definitely has King County health and safety officials raising awareness about river safety.

Even though the air is warmer, the rivers are still cold and the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks, Public Health – Seattle & King County, and King County Sheriff’s Office are urging recreationalists to exercise caution around open water.

A safety mailer is going to more than 30,000 addresses within about one mile of major King County river recreation areas. New signage is being installed at riverside recreation areas. The yellow signs—reading: “Warning, River is Dangerous”—are going up at more than a dozen popular river put-in locations on King County Parks land.

“We want you to have fun and also return home safely from river recreation, so please use caution and wear a personal floatation device on the water,” said Dr. David Fleming, Director and Health Officer for Public Health-Seattle & King County  “If you want to swim, there are much safer places to be—visit a local pool or lifeguarded beach instead.”

Water safety tips

Before venturing into open water, King County health and safety officials remind river users to:

• Wear a life jacket;

• Do not use alcohol and drugs which can impair your judgment in an emergency;

• Keep children within reach, always watching them closely near and in water;

• Choose safer swimming options with lifeguards present, such as a beach, lake or pool; and

• Know river conditions before getting in the water.

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