TRI-CITIES, WA- Local rivers are a great way to cool off, but they can also be dangerous. Columbia Basin Dive Rescue team says they have responded to more drownings this year than last.
Brock Long, a Columbia Basin Dive Rescue member says normally they see 30-40 calls a year. Currently, they are on the way to break that record.
"Our call volumes significantly increased over the last two months. We are already at 30 at least by now," Long said.
This year, they have responded to multiple calls on the Yakima River, Columbia River, and other neighboring rivers in the Columbia Basin for drowning and missing river-goers.
"Accidents happen and that is unpreventable. But be smart and safe and take caution when you are going out on the river, going on a boat, and have an idea of what you are getting yourselves into," Long said.
Long said in many calls they get the commonality between them is no life jacket.
"In a situation where you are in panic or shock, trying to put your life jacket on as your swallowing water, and screaming for help is going to be a lot more difficult than actually having it on when you fall in the water. If you have one on, you kind of have that sense of security to start figuring out how do I get back to shore if you fall in," Long said.
Long says life jackets, keeping an eye on children, and limiting alcohol consumption are all ways to help protect yourself and others on the water.
For more information on water safety, you can visit the Columbia Basin Dive Rescue's website.