How to Stay Safe in the Water - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

How to Stay Safe in the Water

RICHLAND, Wash - Imagine you're suddenly thrown into water, you try to gasp for air and scream for help, but water fills your lungs.

These are some of the beginning stages of drowning.

Columbia Basin Dive Rescue says every year at least six people drown in local rivers.

Divers say the first rule to remember is to always where a life jacket.

Then, if you fall out of your boat relax.

If you struggle the affects of hypothermia can increase quickly.

"You're limbs become a little bit lethargic, you can't swim as well, it's hard to talk," says Scott Ruppelius with Columbia Basin Dive Rescue.

If you can get back in your boat, that's good.

If you can't, hold on to until help arrives.

If you need to leave your boat, swimming against the current will only waste you're energy.

Again, relax, find a safe place down river and swim towards it facing slightly up river at a 45 degree angle.

Remember these are all emergency techniques, and if you're smart, divers say you'll never need them.