PORTLAND, Ore. - The sun will be shining and temperatures will be in the mid 80s this weekend, which might make it tempting for you to go for a swim.
But remember - we live in the Pacific Northwest where the water doesn't warm up all that much, especially this time of year. Most of our rivers and reservoirs are below 50 degrees, which can give your body quite a shock.
If that's not convincing enough in itself, here's a factoid that might make you think twice - did you know that cold water robs your body of heat 32 times faster than cold air? That's why hypothermia can set in so quick.
Now let's say you understand what a risk the cold water can be - and you definitely won't be subjecting yourself to it - but you do plan on heading out in a boat. It's a good idea to wear a personal flotation device in case you get tossed in anyway by some kind of misfortune. That'll at least buy you some valuable time. Without one, you would be in serious trouble pretty quick.
If you'll be heading to the coast, where temperatures will be a bit cooler, we'll remind you of the safety tips we always roll out this time of year. First and foremost - never turn your back on the ocean. Those sneaker waves can be deadly. Here are some more things to remember that can keep you alive:
- It's not a good idea to climb on logs - they could easily roll and pin you.
- If you go wading, stay in the shallow water away from strong currents.
- Pay attention to the tide tables. Otherwise you could get trapped on rocks or on an enclosed beach when the water comes in.
- Always assume that the waves can reach you. Don't get a false sense of security.