Swim danger high with warm temps, cold rivers

Swim danger high with warm temps, cold rivers

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by Amy Troy

kgw.com

Posted on June 21, 2011 at 8:16 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 22 at 10:41 AM

Poll:
Do you think wearing life jackets should be required by law in Ore. rivers?

CARVER, Ore. -- With highs forecasted in the 80’s, Oregonians marked the first day of summer Tuesday on local rivers.

At Carver Park, along the Clackamas river, swimmers boasted “it’s the first day of summer and it actually feels like it!” Others squealed “the water is too cold!”

Rafters who hit the Clackamas for first time agreed.

Karen Mowry said “it’s moving fast and it’s freezing, but it’s fun!”

Deputy Nate Thompson said the water is dangerously cold. He said the Clackamas measured a chilly 52 degrees. He said that’s cold enough to literally “take your breath away” and to make your muscles cramp while you try to swim.

“It makes swimming hard, you can’t make it very far," he said.

He added with all the spring rain and snow, rivers are still running high. Swift, cold currents are challenging.

"The conditions are going to be a lot different than what it was the last time they were rafting, say in August of last year, so it’s really important to pay attention," he said.

He advised children wading in the river should wear life jackets. He noted the high water covers hidden hazards that are normally exposed.

Marine Patrols stateside enforce boating laws and respond to water rescues on rivers across Oregon.

Rafters Tuesday noted, if the frigid water temperature didn’t get their attention, the fine for failing to have life-jackets on board would.

It’s a $287 fine.

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