Dangers of Swimming In The River

By: Ryan Dearbone Email
By: Ryan Dearbone Email

Many people still swim in lakes and rivers all the time during the summer months, but rescue officials say its a very dangerous practice.

"The river is dangerous. Its not a swimming pool. Its not something to be swimming in and having fun. It has a history of taking people's lives," says Warren County Rescue Assistant Chief, Earl Henderson.

He says what sets pools and large rivers and lakes apart is the strong currents.

Henderson explains that swimming in a lake is like walking on an escalator.

"Being on the escalator where the escalator is going up and you're trying to walk down it, you'll either stay in the same spot or to compensate the escalator you have to move harder to get to the bottom."

Its also whats underneath the surface that can be deadly.

"I think anytime you're dealing with a river like this, you have a lot of unknowns in the water. You have a lot of holes where you think you know how deep it is," says Warren County Rescue Squad Public Information Officer, Deborah Williams.

Many times swimmers will also get stuck in underwater debris both from from nature and man-made.

Williams points to the river at Weldon Peete Park.

"Weldon Peete has a lot of shopping carts in there and that's the kind of debris that you can get tangled up in when you're swimming," adds Williams.

Swimming in rivers and large lakes is actually prohibited at many places around here.

"In fact there are "no swimming" signs at boat ramps with higher traffic," notes Henderson.

Still, these officials know people will still try to wade the waters, but they just ask them to be smart when the jump in.

"Its deceiving to look across the river and think that you could swim across it," notes Williams.

If you still decide to swim in a large lake or river, Henderson encourages you to wear a buoyancy device to help you float even in strong waters.


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