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First responders urge caution on waterways as boating season ramps up

Sacramento Metro Fire says their crews have already had to conduct several water rescues this year.

SACRAMENTO, Calif — With temperatures heating up this weekend, families are flocking to Sacramento’s rivers to beat the heat. While there are many fun activities from boating to swimming for people to enjoy on the waterways, first responders are reminding folks to keep safety in mind when they're out on the water.

Sacramento Metro Fire District expressed the importance of wearing life jackets and watching out for hazards.

Captain Parker Wilbourn with Sacramento Metro Fire District says the particularly wet winter we had has caused a lot of new debris in rivers.

"Just be careful while you're out there and just be ready for the potential for snags and things that you might not be able to see on the top that could potentially cause you harm if you're strained against those things," said Wilbourn.

He says there are also "drop offs" in the river where parts of the river look shallow but are actually much deeper. 

"Be ready for dynamic water swimming," said Wilbourn.

Discovery Park was a popular destination for folks to boat and play in the water along the Sacramento and American rivers Saturday afternoon.

Sac Metro Fire says their crews have already had to conduct several water rescues this year.

One kayaker died in the hospital after being rescued from the American River in March. Officials say the victim was not wearing a life vest.

In the weeks leading up to the outdoor season, fire crews underwent river and flood water rescue training to prepare in the case boaters need help. 

The agency says they're fully staffed in boats and helicopters to make sure everyone stays safe on the river this season.

Several life vest borrowing stations are set up on the American River Parkway, including two stations at Discovery Park. 

See below for a full list:

  • Discovery Park (2 sites) (kids and adults)
  • Ancil Hoffman Park (kids only)
  • Howe Avenue river access (kids only)
  • Paradise Beach (kids only)
  • Watt Avenue river access (kids only)
  • River Bend Park (kids only)
  • El Manto Access (kids and adults)
  • Sunrise river access (kids only)

To learn more about ways you and your family can stay safe on the water, click HERE.

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