Water follies water safety - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Water follies water safety

Posted: Updated:

KENNEWICK, Wash--  With the Columbia Cup in town that means water safety preparations are in full throttle on the river--days before the races even get underway.

"Basically I oversee all the on the water activities," explains Mike Hendricks.  "The rescue team, I oversee the patrol boats we have out here, make sure everyone is trained."

Mike Hendricks has spent much of his life around the Water Follies.  He's the man that knows the courses ins and outs.

"The weekend before we come out, we set the course," Hendricks adds.  "The weekend of the event, it's just making sure the course is set up with the buoys, making sure everyone's taken care of."

It's work most of us never see.  But it's crucial. 

"We have 4 main rescue sleds, 2 fire boats.  Each one of those boats is staffed with a driver, a deckhand and 2 drivers," Hendricks explains.  "The 2 fire boats are staffed with firefighters and drivers in case of a fire."

It's a science the way Mike and his team works.  Of course, you wouldn't know that; all of our eyes are locked on the races.