Deputies urge river safety after 2 boats overturn on Rogue River

Rogue River, Ore. —     After another river rescue this weekend, marine patrols are concerned the hot weather coould lead to tragedy. Tonight the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office is offering some tips to keep you safe.

“As the temperatures go up everybody starts coming out,” JCSO Deputy, Jason Denton says.

For the last couple weeks, Marine Deputy Jason Denton has been on the water, making sure floaters boaters, and paddlers are playing it safe.

“We’re looking for safety equipment, we’re making sure everybody has life jackets, has a whistle,” Deputy Denton says, “and that the drinking is held to a minimum.”

In the last 5 days, 2 boats have overturned on the Rogue, sending 5 people without life jackets into the cold, rushing water. In both incidents everyone made it out okay, but Deputy Denton says it only takes a minute for a spill on the river to turn tragic.

“Exhaustion and hypothermia will set in in a minute to 2 minutes.”

And 2 minutes might not be enough time for rescue crews to arrive, so Denton says if you find yourself in a bad situation; don’t panic, and don’t try to swim against the current.

“Best thing to do is rollover on your back put your feet in front of you so you can kick off any obstacles and just back stroke and that will keep you afloat if you backstroke you can make your way to the shore,” Denton.

Visitors should also use the buddy system, and know where you are. Denton says the more familiar you are with your location, the quicker help can find you.

And be prepared for the conditions, even though we’re nearing record temps, the river is still running cold.

“It comes off of the bottom of the lake,” Denton says, “it’s in the low 50’s right now, it’s not going to warm up at all by this weekend, so ease into it and be ready for it.”

Anyone 12 or younger is required to have a life jacket on at all times, and anyone 13 or older must have one with them. In addition to a life jacket, Oregon law requires you also have a whistle to signal for help. And while alcohol is allowed, the same intoxication standards apply on water as they do on land.

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