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Floating on the river this summer? Here’s how to stay safe

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) - Thursday is the first day of summer. That means more people will want to get out on the water including floating on the river.

Are there any safe spots on the river to float on? Local News 8 spoke with Backcountry Patrol Sergeant for the Bonneville County Sheriff's Office, Judd Aeschbacher. His answer, not really.

“I would hardly say that there's really a safe spot for anywhere floating on the river. The river contains so many hazards.”

These hazards can include trees, shrubs, and floating debris. Another hazard is the water temperature. “Probably around 40 degrees [Fahrenheit] is what the water temperature is right now,” said Aeschbacher.

And don't forget the strong water current. “That could be the equivalent of 9,000 fire hoses pushing you down and moving you across the ground,” Aeschbacher said.

Aeschbacher says you need to have the proper equipment when you go out on the river, no matter how good a swimmer you are.

“A lot of people think that they can out-swim the river, and that's just not true. Again, the power that it has right now with the run off—nobody can out swim it. That would even make Michael Phelps look like an amateur coming out of high school,” Aeschbacher said.

The river might be only six or seven feet deep in some areas, but that’s still deep enough to submerge an average adult. If you have a water accident, rescue teams can help, but they can take several minutes to arrive.

"There's no immediate rescue available, unless you happen to go in the river right next to where we just put a boat in for training."

If you plan to go out on the river, make sure to at least wear a life jacket.

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Noah Farley

Noah is a reporter for Local News 8.


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