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News Release from: Clackamas Co. Sheriff's Office

Posted: Monday, June 1, 2015

Local water-rescue teams offer swimming and boating safety tips

Photos: [ 1 ] [ 2 ]

River enforcementSummer is just around the corner -- and with it, the fun-in-the-sun and water activities.

There are many things we can do to make those activities -- which include boating, swimming, floating, and fishing -- fun and safe experiences.

"Drowning is a preventable tragedy," says Lt. Robert Wurpes, who supervises the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office Marine Patrol. "Often by the time you realize you're in trouble, it's already too late -- but some basic safety practices can prevent that."

Wurpes says one of the most common excuses he hears about people not wearing personal floatation devices (PFDs) is, "I'm a good swimmer." "But even a good swimmer can be overcome -- quickly -- by injury, cold, exhaustion, and fear," he says. "The best practice is to wear it."

Other water-safety tips from the National Institutes of Health include:

Wurpes also notes that attempting to rescue another swimmer in distress is very dangerous. Trained rescuers teach and use a protocol called "Talk, Reach, Throw, Row":

  1. TALK. First, call 911 -- then talk to the person and see if you can coach them to swim to you on shore or to a boat.
  2. REACH. Next you can try to reach to them by extending a pole, branch, or inflatable boat. Do not allow them to grab hold of your body, as they may try to pull you in.
  3. THROW. You can throw a distressed person a life jacket, life ring, rope or any other object that will help them stay afloat.
  4. ROW. If necessary, use a boat to get to the person.

Other important safety tips:

To learn more about the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office Marine Unit, click here.


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Contact Info:
Sergeant Nathan Thompson
Office of Public Information
Clackamas County Sheriff's Office

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Clackamas County Sheriff

Sheriff Craig Roberts

Sheriff Craig Roberts

Office: (503) 785-5000
Non-Emergency: (503) 655-8211

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