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The Green and White Rivers – Beautiful and Dangerous

We encourage you to learn about the hazards of our rivers and take steps to keep you and your family safe. Be knowledgeable of deep and shallow areas, currents, obstructions, the location of entry and exit points and any posted river closures.

Know the water

– Washington's lakes and rivers are cold enough to cause hypothermia, even in the summer and even among the strongest swimmers. The water in the Green and White Rivers can be 50 degrees or below, even in the summer months. Cold water takes the heat out of the body 32 times faster than cold air, and even quicker if you are exerting yourself through physical exercise such as swimming. When you’re cold, you won’t think as quickly, your muscles won’t work as well, and you can start to panic. 

In addition to the cold, the speed and current of our rivers, plus debris floating or hidden in the water can cause many problems for boaters and swimmers. Fast moving water, such as we have in the Green and White Rivers, can press a swimmer or boat against a log jam or other obstacle with such force that it may trap or pin them there. Large rocks and logs can tip over rafts, canoes and kayaks. Other hazards, such as new channels or freshly fallen trees can happen at any time. These conditions also make rescue efforts difficult.

Know your limits

– Watch out for the dangerous "too’s" – too tired, too cold, too far from safety, too much sun, too much strenuous activity. The VRFA recommends wearing a life jacket while swimming anywhere without lifeguards. Also, water safety rules should be set for the whole family based on swimming ability. Swimmers should stay hydrated to avoid muscle cramps and alcohol use should be avoided.

©2018 Valley Regional Fire Authority

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