The following is a press release from the Black Diamond Police Department:
During spring, the air warms but Washington’s waterways remain cold, and safety officials are reminding boaters and paddlers that wearing a life jacket is a safety necessity.
While people are encouraged to always wear a life jacket no matter the water temperature or season, public safety officials stress that wearing a life jacket – not just having it on the boat – significantly increases the chances of surviving a fall into cold water.
“The shock of falling into cold water triggers a gasp reflex, which more than likely means inhaling water,” said Black Diamond Police Chief Jamey Kiblinger. “Wearing a life jacket gives you a fighting chance to get your head above water, stay calm and call for help.”
Despite recent warmer weather, water temperatures statewide are still below 60 degrees – cold enough to cause the gasp reflex and incapacitate even strong swimmers in less than one minute.
Before the first launch of the season, boaters and paddlers are also reminded to review boating regulations and get educated, inspect their watercraft and gear, verify vessels are properly equipped and always wear a life jacket while out on the water.