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Area lakes and rivers are still dangerously cold

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This happens every year in Puget Sound and it is unnecessary. We get a warm spell in May or June and people head to the lakes and rivers to cool off. What better way than a swim, a float trip, a canoe, or a kayak?

Don’t be fooled, our area lakes and rivers can kill you this time of year.
Lakes are still cold, hypothermia can set in quickly leading to a loss of coordination and drowning. Unless you’ve ever experienced a kayak/canoe overturning suddenly, you have no idea how disorienting the experience really is. 

For our rivers, flow and levels are high with continued snow melt and there are a lot of limbs and branches over the waterways after our February snows (called strainers). High flow plus branches in the water are certified drowning machines. If you get up against a strainer, the water pressure keeps you there. The end. Rivers are even colder than lakes also.

If you’re going to head to the water to enjoy the warm please:

1) Don’t swim alone or at night
2) Don’t drink and swim
3) Don’t go over your head, you can cramp up suddenly
4) Canoe, kayak, etc. wear a life jacket
5) Don’t venture out on the rivers unless you have reviewed official reports and/or scouted the runs yourself – wear a lifejacket, don’t go alone, have a recovery plan
6) Smaller children are more susceptible to hypothermia, keep an eye on them and watch for shivering, blue lips, and chattering teeth

Please be safe.

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