Summer is just about here. It seems like forever ago we had a summer.
Many things come with the summer months — nice weather, outdoor activities, swimming, boating, hiking, etc.
When the weather starts to get up into the upper 70s and 80s, we tend to flock to any water source to enjoy the day. And every year there is a tragedy that occurs in the county that comes when swimming in creeks, the Skagit River and local lakes.
Drownings are way too common and most of the time they can be avoided.
During the beginning of summer, our local creeks and the river are still extremely cold and tend to run high as the snow in the mountains is melting and running down into the valley.
People who are not good swimmers, especially our younger kids, need to wear flotation devices when near the bank of a creek or river. The current and depth at times can be hard to judge and you do not want to risk your child getting swept downstream.
When going to a local lake to swim and enjoy the beach, please remember to swim with someone. A swim buddy is much safer than going alone.
Cold-water swimming can take your breath away and increase your breathing. Hypothermia is also possible in the cold water. Please do not underestimate the early June runoff of ice-cold water.
Try to avoid a tragedy when young kids are around the water. Please avoid the following scenario.
While having a picnic on the shore of the Skagit River, a 10-year-old is playing near the riverbank. A few minutes go by and the child is nowhere to be found.
Thinking the child wandered off, the adults start looking in the area, panicking as the child is not answering their calls. After searching for about 10 minutes a call goes out to 911 to report the missing child.
Search and rescue volunteers come to the area to search on land and from a boat in the water.
This is a tragedy that occurs in our county and all over our state. To avoid these situations, a life jacket could have helped save this child.
During these hot days, the Sheriff’s Office responds to trespass calls as property owners find people on their property without permission swimming and recreating.
Most of the time we find that the property is well posted with no trespassing signs but the lure of the water and cooling off tends to interfere with following the law.
Please make sure you know where you are going, and if it is private property please get permission from the owner to avoid a ticket for trespass. The last thing you want is a court date because you were just trying to enjoy the water and cool off for the day.
Another very common call we respond to are loud parties with a bonfire in the woods near a body of water. Minors in possession of alcohol is a typical culprit that can become very dangerous as alcohol tends to cloud the judgment.
Please be careful during these hot days and take extra precautions around water, especially when younger kids are involved.
Send questions, concerns and tips to my email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Chad Clark is undersheriff with the Skagit County Sheriff’s Office.