This Fourth of July weekend use extreme caution at local swimming holes, and near raging rivers and streams. Fast moving rivers and streams can pose great dangers. Do not underestimate the force of moving water and strong currents. The high, fast water the Adirondacks is experiencing due to recent heavy rains was the cause of two deaths this week in treacherous currents.
A Whitehall man was swept under while swimming with family in the Mettawee River in Granville on Saturday. Also, a Franklin County man, a father of three, went over Rockwell Falls in Lake Luzerne on an inflatable raft on Sunday.
Adirondack history includes additional examples of people who have ventured into fast-moving waters with tragic results. For example, in 2003 four teenagers, two co-captains of their high school swim team, were drowned at the Boquet River’s Split Rock Falls after one entered the fast moving current and his three friends attempted rescues. Since the mid-1990s, five people have drowned in dangerous whirlpools of the Schroon River.
Fast, powerful currents, and high waters can also wash logs, docks and other floating objects into rivers and lakes, creating potential hazards. The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation has issued the following tips for outdoor recreation this weekend:
· Swimmers and waders should avoid swift currents, especially near waterfalls and rapids.
· Anglers and others recreating on the banks of streams and rivers should wear personal flotation devices.
· Paddlers and boaters should be aware and plan for faster currents. Watch closely for floating objects and be aware that logs, rocks and other obstacles that normally can be seen above water may be just below the water surface.
· Hikers and backcountry campers should be prepared for muddy conditions on trails. Wear waterproof footwear and gaiters and walk through – not around – mud and water to prevent eroding and widening the trails.
· In an emergency situation in the Adirondacks contact 518-891-0235.
This weekend, avoid swimming in fast moving waters. The Red Cross also suggests the following swimming precautions:
- Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
- Always swim with a buddy; do not allow anyone to swim alone.
- Never leave a young child unattended near water and do not trust a child’s life to another child; teach children to always ask permission to go near water.
- Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.
- Maintain constant supervision.
- Make sure everyone in your family learns to swim well. Enroll in age-appropriate Red Cross water orientation and learn-to-swim courses.
- If you have a pool, secure it with appropriate barriers. Many children who drown in home pools were out of sight for less than five minutes and in the care of one or both parents at the time.
- Avoid distractions when supervising children around water.
- If a child is missing, check the water first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability.
- Have appropriate equipment, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, life jackets and a first aid kit.
- Know how and when to call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
- Enroll in Red Cross home pool safety, water safety, first aid and CPR/AED courses to learn how to prevent and respond to emergencies.
- Protect your skin. Limit the amount of direct sunlight you receive between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. and wear sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15.
- Drink plenty of water regularly, even if you’re not thirsty. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine in them.