With river waters running high and fast because of recent warmer temperatures and fast snow melt, the Washington State Parks Boating Program is warning recreationists to stay out of rivers altogether.
“The rivers are swollen right now and near flood stage,” said Mark Kenny, boating law enforcement coordinator for State Parks. “They’re swift, cold and unforgiving. .. All people should stay out of rivers at this time because the danger is so great.”
Kenny said because the water is moving very fast, boaters may find themselves unexpectedly falling into water so cold that it quickly numbs reactions.
Because high waters in many rivers statewide are taking river levels up into the trees, rescue by experienced teams is challenging.
Kenny said the King County Sheriff’s Office conducted 11 rescues May 17 alone and that the sheriff’s office and other local authorities may take additional steps – including closing river access – to keep people out of rivers.