While swimming in the water is tempting during these warm summer days, local rivers such as the Snoqualmie are inherently dangerous. The water can be high, swift, and cold as mountain snowpack melts, increasing the risk of hypothermia.
Sadly, a 17-year-old male lost his life on July 14 when jumping with friends from the old railway trestle spanning the Snoqualmie River along SE Reinig Road in Snoqualmie. Last March, a man was found underwater above Snoqualmie Falls near Sandy Cove Park. In late June, a man drowned in the river below Snoqualmie Falls.
These are examples of the many ways a person can get into unexpected trouble, emphasizing the need for river safety. Even a strong swimmer can become quickly incapacitated from cold-water shock. Add that to a strong current and the results can be deadly. Swimmers need to understand the speed and power of moving water can be deceiving from the shore.
In addition, there is also a strong undertow in many areas, including logs and rocks that are not visible, causing a danger of tripping and becoming trapped. Known hazards in the Snoqualmie River are posted on the King County website.
Review Safety Measures with Children and Teens
- Never jump or dive into unfamiliar water.
- Know the river conditions, even when wading. If you don’t know the area, don’t go in.
- Do not swim at dusk or at night.
- Wear a lifejacket or personal flotation device.
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.
Please be safe as you enjoy the beautiful weather.