State warning boaters to keep out of water - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

State warning boaters to keep out of water

SPOKANE, Wash. - With river waters running high and fast because of recent warmer temperatures and fast snow melt, the Washington State Parks Boating Program is warning outdoor 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. Only very experienced river runners can navigate them, however, 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 and makes self-rescue extremely difficult. Because high waters in many rivers statewide are taking river levels up into the trees, rescue by experienced teams is challenging.

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