PORTLAND -- On the hottest day of an already warm week, it’s hard to beat a day on the river.
Motor boats towing tubers, people on stand-up paddle boards and sunbathers laying on docks were just a few sights along the Willamette River in Portland Tuesday.
Deputies with Multnomah County’s River Patrol want people to come out and enjoy water. But, they know that their calls for service increase with the rising temperatures.
“We’ve seen an increase in our call load this summer versus last summer,” said Lt. Travis Gulberg.
Although he didn’t have specific numbers, he recalled 3 boating accidents, 5 warrant arrests and countless safety checks so far this summer.
While there have been several drownings in the Northwest this summer, none have happened in the rivers patrolled by Multnomah County.
"The Oregon side hasn’t been hit as hard as the Washington side,” said Deputy Todd Shanks.
But Shanks knows drownings are always a possibility.
On average, 70 people drown each year in Oregon, according to the Oregon Health Authority.
On Tuesday, Shanks pointed out that stand-up paddle boards are considered boats. That means people using them must have a life-jacket with them, and preferably wearing them.
Also, if you tie two or more inner tubes together, that is now considered a vessel as well, according to Shanks. That means people using the inner tubes must also have life jackets, and someone in the group must also have a noise making device, like a whistle.