Sheriff's Office stressing water safety - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Sheriff's Office stressing water safety

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SPOKANE, Wash. - Another hot weekend is in store for recreationists headed to area lakes and rivers this weekend, but continued cold water temperatures and swift currents continue to pose a threat to anyone who finds him or herself overboard.

Hypothermia can become an issue for anyone in water colder than 70 degrees, so swimmers and tubers need to be aware that they can become disoriented and make irrational decisions while partaking of this weekend's 40-to-50 degree water.

Also, for persons who unintentionally fall into the cold water, a phenomenon known as the Involuntary Gasp Reflex can cause you to inhale water into your lungs and drown.

Obviously, wearing a personal flotation device (lifejacket) can keep you above the surface long enough for rescue.

Water current presents a very real danger for anyone spending time on the Spokane River, Little Spokane River or Latah Creek. People in the water can be pulled below the surface and trapped against underwater debris or rock.  Again, PFD's keep you topside.

Marine deputies will be on the water again this weekend, conducting boat safety inspections and looking out for unsafe boating practices or law violations.

Over the long Memorial Day Weekend, deputies conducted 49 physical boat inspections (16 passed, 33 failed) and gave another 91 boats visual inspections, performed two boater assists, issued three infractions and made one arrest.

The most common infractions were boats not having proper registration numbers (3" tall, contrasting color) and not having a throwable PFD. One infraction was for a child not wearing a PFD while the boat was underway, and two for operators not having a Boater Safety Education card.

The sole arrest was for a subject wanted on a Department of Corrections Escape warrant.

Boaters are reminded to comply with "Take Out" signs east of the Barker Bridge construction site as the area has many vessel hazards.  Also, the river from Plese Flats to the Nine Mile Falls Dam remains closed to boaters.

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