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Water Safety Tips

Help Keep Your Family Safe

With sunny weather, you might you might be considering spending some time at a beach, a lake or a river. While most enjoy the water safely, there are preventable drownings and other tragic situations every year – including 28 preventable drowning deaths in King County last year. To ensure you’ll have fun visiting rivers, lakes, streams, or swimming pools, please plan ahead and have safety as your goal.

Water Safety Tips

  • Limit close contact with people outside your home, both in and out of the water, to keep you and your family safe while Covid-19 persists in our community.
  • Wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket when swimming if no lifeguards are present, and while boating, tubing or rafting. For children age 12 and younger, it’s the law on all vessels under 19 feet.
  • Learn CPR.
  • Ensure all family members know how to swim before going in the water.
  • Alcohol, marijuana, other drugs and water recreation don’t mix: never use alcohol, marijuana or other impairing drugs duringwater and boating activities.
  • Watch children closely when they are in or near any type of water; stay within touching distance of small children at all times.

Boating & Floating Safety

  • There are no lifeguards on duty and conditions are always subject to change. King County rivers will have cold, fast flows from snowmelt throughout the summer. Rocks and gravel shift seasonally along rivers, changing the nature of local swimming holes.
  • In some areas, shallow water will seem warm but any moving or deep water will very cold which could result in cold water incapacitation or hypothermia.
  • Always tell someone your route and when and where you expect to put in and takeout.
  • Never float a river alone and, if possible, make sure there is at least one craft with oars in your group in case a rescue is needed.
  • Bring a dry bag with food, water, and warm clothes.

Learn more about water saefty and find local life jackets resources on the visit the King County Water Safety website.


*Adapted from Seattle and King County Public Health