River warning for Memorial Day weekend and beyond

River warning for Memorial
In April 2017, two young adults drowned a week apart at this location on the Middle Fork of the Kaweah River.

Every Memorial Day weekend is busy in Three Rivers. But this holiday period will be unlike any ever experienced because Sequoia National Park, and most other public lands are closed to the public, meaning crowds will bottleneck in Three Rivers. This coincides with some hot weather that always leaves people clamoring for a spot along the river or at the lake. It could be busy like busy has never been experienced here before. River warning for Memorial

So here is our annual spiel… warning… plea…

Every year, the Kaweah River claims lives. The victims are typically under 30 years old. The victims are most always not from Three Rivers.

It’s painfully obvious that the message of river danger is not reaching enough people. Education is key so everyone who ventures near water’s edge understands that local waterways are swift, cold, and dangerous well into the summer months.

And this warning doesn’t apply to swimmers only. Just walking or hanging out alongside the river during periods of high water are deadly activities. Many drowning fatalities occur when someone slips into the water and are swept away so fast that they could not be saved. River warning for Memorial

The Kaweah River canyons are narrow and embankments are steep. In addition, the alluring boulders at river’s edge have been water-polished over centuries and are as slippery as walking on ice.

The following are some tips that everyone needs to know when recreating along the Kaweah River:

This time of year, the water is icy-cold so hypothermia (the deadly lowering of body temperature) can occur within minutes, rendering the body unable to swim. So its preferable if all visitors stay out of the water.

River warning for Memorial
Even if the river looks calm, a strong undercurrent can pull a swimmer quickly downstream to where the channel narrows into a swift, rocky, deadly chute.

•Stay off rocks near the river’s edge. River warning for Memorial

•On hot days, the lure of the water is tempting. But it is still cold and dangerous.

•Never mix alcohol or drugs, even weed, with swimming or water play.

•Never swim if you have had too much sun, alcohol, or strenuous activity.

•Always expect strong currents, undertows, underwater objects, and sharp drop-offs.

•If you fall into rapids, try to turn your body so you are in a sitting position with feet first.

•Maintain constant supervision of all children; young children should wear a flotation device when in the vicinity of any body of water.

•Adults should know how to swim; teach children water safety as soon as possible and teach them to swim beginning at age 3.

•Never enter the water headfirst; a feet-first entry is safer, but never jump into water that is less than 10 feet deep. River warning for Memorial

•Take a CPR course; a significant number of drownings have been prevented because someone had these skills.

•Never swim if you are too tired, cold, or far from safety.

Know how to prevent, recognize, and respond to a river emergency:

•Children in trouble in the water might not yell for help or flail.

•To pull someone from the water, lie on your stomach on the shore, dock, or boat, and reach an object to the struggling person (such as a long stick, T-shirt, rope, selfie stick, belt, or anything else at hand). Do not stand upright or you could be pulled in.

•If in the water with a potential drowning victim, they may try to hold onto you, which could pull you under the water too, so instead grab them from behind with your arm under their chin and across their chest so they are on their back. Then do a modified sidestroke to safety. River warning for Memorial

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