Tips for boating safety this summer - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Tips for boating safety this summer

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BENTON COUNTY, WA - With summer and temperatures heating up, marine patrols want to refresh our memories about what it takes to stay safe on the water.

It's important to carry the necessary safety equipment on boats such as life jackets, a throwable ring, seat cushion, flares and first-aid kits.

"The river is in ever-changing conditions, the water is cold, the current is fast especially early in the season," said Brett Hansen, Benton County Sheriff's Office Deputy. "Even though it's hot outside; you fall in the water, you get hypothermia very fast."

It's also important to have an Adventures in Boating card to understand navigation and rules of the water.

With the increased popularity of paddle sports, it's important those out on the water have a life jacket on at all times and a whistle or sounding device in case of emergency.

"Our water is very cold in Washington; the Columbia river is usually below 60 degrees most of the year," said Derek VanDyke Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission Boating Education Coordinator. "There's a misconception about hypothermia, well hypothermia sets in after about an hour in the water. You first have to worry about cold water shock, when you first jump in the water there's a gasp reflex... so we use a 1-10-1 principle we often talk about. One minute of cold water shock, ten minutes of strength or dexterity to self-rescue; all of your blood flows from your hands to your heart so you lose your strength. Hypothermia sets in in about an hour; that's why your life jacket is so important so you'll survive at that time."