Rescue Officials Warn of Dangerous Stanislaus River During Fourth of July Weekend

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MODESTO -- Up and down the water are rafters, kayakers, adventurers. Before you strap in and hold tight, understand the danger that is the Stanislaus River.

“If you have no water experience whatsoever, I would still caution this probably isn't the best time to come out and try to sharpen any skill that you might have,” Battalion Chief Eric deHart with the Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Department said.

Chief deHart recommends you hire a professional guide.

“Who have gone through swift water rescue, guide school, have everything prepared and have run many times since April of this year,” David Voortman, the Owner of River Journey Adventures told FOX40.

Rescue crews said there a lot of dips, turns and debris that can throw off even experienced rafters.

“Right below that there's a really gnarly looking beaver dam. Sometimes what happens a lot of people get stuck on there,” Captain Zack Gardner, with the Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Department explained.

The perilous water, has also proven fatal. Fire fighters said a woman who was wearing a life vest drowned in the river last week and on Sunday, nine people were thrown off a raft after it got entangled in some branches.

“It was actually sideways, pressed up against a tree and what happened was they actually got caught in an area they shouldn't have been and it ended up knocking all of them out,” Chief deHart said.

If you decide to take on the challenge, be prepared, be safe.

“Just to use a lot of common sense and use caution. It's not a good idea to come out and try to brave it in something that again, you might buy at a discount store,” Chief deHart explained.

The Chief also recommends to go in groups and let someone who isn’t with you know of your float plan. He also said to store your cell phone in dry bag so if you run into trouble you can call 911. Also, use coast guard approved life vests and gear. ​