Plan to be around water Memorial Day weekend? Take precautions, Pacific Power warns

Company works with local law enforcement agencies to provide loaner life jackets at Lewis River reservoirs

As southwest Washington residents prepare for what is forecast to be a mostly sunny Memorial Day weekend, many are cautioning that while the warmth might make area rivers and reservoirs seem like a cool escape, those waterways can also represent an extreme threat.

Anglers float the North Fork Lewis River in this ClarkCountyToday.com file photo. Photo by Mike Schultz
Anglers float the North Fork Lewis River in this ClarkCountyToday.com file photo. Photo by Mike Schultz

Pacific Power issued such a warning in a press release Thursday, noting that while summer recreation season kicks off Memorial Day weekend, snowmelt is creating high and cold water conditions on the popular Lewis River reservoirs and elsewhere.

“Air temperatures may be rising, but water remains cold so it is a good time to observe safety precautions when boating or anytime you are near a river or lake,” the company wrote in the release.

Here are a few of the precautions suggested by Pacific Power and others:

  • Always use a life jacket when on a floating device of any kind. Regulations require life jackets even while paddle boarding.
  • Take care not to overload boats. The tendency is to think there is always room for one more, but too many people in a boat can compromise buoyancy and stability. Think safety first.
  • All floating craft (including kayaks, canoes and paddle boards) should have a light source and a sound-making device to signal other craft.
  • Take care on shorelines. Rocks can be slippery and muddy bottoms could cause waders to unexpectedly sink in and lose their balance. Wear insulated waders to protect from the cold waters.

Pacific Power is working with local law enforcement agencies to provide loaner life jackets on the Lewis River reservoirs.

“If you are about to launch and find you are a few life jackets short, staff at the boat launches can make sure you are safe,” the company wrote.

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