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Hot days, cold waters are a potentially dangerous combination


Alan Melnick, Clark County Health Officer
Phone: (360) 397-8412

Vancouver, WA - With hot weather on the way, people will throng Clark Countyís regional parks, where residents and visitors swim, boat and enjoy the water. But even on hot days, many rivers and lakes in Southwest Washington remain cold in early summer.

Cold water − especially when high or swift − can immobilize even the strongest swimmer in minutes. If your plans for a weekend or the July 4 holiday include a trip to a beach, lake or river, here are some safety tips:

Drowning prevention

  • When possible, choose a supervised area with trained lifeguards. (Note: Clark County is currently seeking qualified lifeguards for duty at Klineline Pond this summer. Visitors to Klineline Pond can use the life jacket loaner station.)
  • Know the water: Washington waters are cold enough to cause hypothermia even on the hottest summer day. Hypothermia can weaken even strong swimmers.
  • Know your limits: drowning often occurs when a swimmer tires.
  • Wear a life jacket when swimming anywhere without lifeguards or whenever you boat, jet ski, go tubing or do other water sports.
  • Ensure children wear lifejackets. Inflatable toys and mattresses will not keep children safe. By law, children 12 and younger must wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket or vest on all vessels 18 feet or smaller.
  • Never leave children unsupervised in or near water, even for a minute. Drowning can happen swiftly and silently. Supervision requires complete attention, even if other adults are present.
  • Always avoid alcohol when swimming or boating.
  • Avoid swimming in potentially dangerous areas such as fast-flowing rivers or ocean beaches with riptides.
  • Donít dive into shallow water or unfamiliar swimming holes.
  • Cover your spa when not in use. Ponds, five-gallon buckets and wading pools also are drowning hazards for young children. If you have a pool, be sure a barrier such as a fence prevents unauthorized entry.

Additional information

Swimming pool safety
Staying cool during hot weather

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