Another tragic drowning in the Snoqualmie River has brought renewed attention to local river and lake safety.
While lakes and rivers are a big draws during hot summer days, rivers like the Snoqualmie are inherently dangerous. After a slow, cooler than normal start to summer, the snowpack-fed water is high, swift and cold – increasing the risk of hypothermia.
Temperature of Rattlesnake Lake and the Snoqualmie River
Recent Snoqualmie River Drownings
On July 14th, a 17-year old young man lost his life when jumping with friends from the old Reinig Road railway trestle bridge. In late June, a man drowned in the river below Snoqualmie Falls – and last March a man was also found underwater near Sandy Cove Park.
It an be easy to get into unexpected trouble in the Snoqualmie River. Even a strong swimmer can become quickly incapacitated from cold-water shock. Add that to a strong current, and the results can be tragic.
It is critical that swimmers understand the speed and power of the river, as it can be deceiving from the shore. There are also a strong undertows in many areas, including submerged logs and rocks that can cause floats to pop and/or swimmers to become trapped.
Known hazards in the Snoqualmie River are posted on the King County website.
River Safety Measures to Review with Children and Teens
- Know the river conditions, even when wading. If you don’t know the area, don’t go in.
- Never jump or dive into unfamiliar water.
- Do not swim at dusk or at night.
- Wear a lifejacket or personal flotation device.
Washington State Lifejacket Laws
Washington state law requires children ages 12 years and younger to wear a Coast Guard-approved lifejacket or vest on vessels less than 19 feet long, including inner tubes.
Safety Tips for Boating and Tubing
- Always tell someone your route, and when and where you expect to put in and take out.
- Never float the river alone and, if possible, make sure there is at least one oared craft in your group in case a rescue is needed.
- Drink lots of water to avoid heat stroke.
- Bring a dry bag with food, water, and warm clothes.
- Have a back-up plan for emergency contact in case your trip is cut short by an unforeseen obstacle or emergency.
More river safety tips are posted on the King County website.