The Unofficial Start to Summer Has Sacramento Water Rescue Teams on High Alert

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SACRAMENTO -- It’s the unofficial start of summer this Memorial Day weekend and families across Northern California will flock to the water for some fun outdoors.

But Saturday, even as the Epley family was digging up a good time on the Sacramento River, the Drowning Accident Rescue Team (DART) is warning of brisk, fast-moving rivers in our area.

“The river is fast and it’s very cold. It will overwhelm even the most competent of swimmers,” said Cole Glenwright, DART. “You’ll see our rescue swimmers who are specifically trained for this are wearing thick wet suits and rescue grade life jackets.”

And though the Epley kids were just playing next to the river, they still had their life vests on.

“’Cause you never know,” their dad, Curtis Epley said. You never can tell.”

Life vests are a precaution that Sacramento’s rescue crews hope all families will take because the rivers can easily sweep you away.

Rescuers have even made it easy for you, putting out free life vests along our beaches for anyone to borrow.

Rescue crews are hoping their help isn’t needed this weekend but just in case, they’ll be out patrolling the Sacramento and American rivers.

With all the rain and snowmelt this year, they’ve already been busy.

“This is double the amount of water rescue calls that our team has responded to year-to-date than in previous years,” Glenwright stated.

Glenwright urges anyone who plans to hit the water to avoid mixing alcohol with swimming or boating.

“We all know alcohol can impair our sense of judgment,” he said. “We may suddenly think we are a better swimmer than we really are. And unfortunately, those are some of the more tragic incidents we respond to.”

The Epley’s plan to heed these warnings so their fun days at the river stay that way.


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