River temperatures still cold; even in hot temperatures

Jackson County, Ore. — The Rogue Valley is definitely kicking off summer solstice with hot temperatures in the forecast. While we may see temperatures heat up to the upper 90’s this weekend, most people don’t realize the water temperatures are in the 50’s and 60’s. With temperatures that cold, it’s possible for someone to get hypothermia in just a few minutes.

That’s why Jackson County Sheriff’s Office Marine Patrol Division wants you to be educated before hitting the water this summer.

“Popular places in Jackson County to raft or recreate on the river is from the dam to Shady Cove and that is one of the coldest spots on the river,” said Deputy Tarrazas, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office Marine Patrol Division.

With the start of summer solstice the JCSO Marine Patrol wants to make sure you’re educated on the river before hopping in.

“It’ll be like a shock if you hit the water,” Deputy Terrazas said.

The average temperature for the water coming from the dam is around 52 degrees.

“Our body’s are at 98.8, right? So you get to 95.7 – hypothermia comes in. 3 to 5 minutes,” Deputy Terrazas said.

3 to 5 minutes is all it takes – before fun can become fatal.

“This boat is equipped with a monitoring device it monitors the depth, it monitors how fast someone is going, it also monitors the temperature of the water,” said Deputy Tarrazas. He said marine patrol has added patrol boats and floats to have better coverage on the river this summer. You’ll see these boats out at local rivers and lakes to help keep you safe and educated.

“Any type of water-related question, any safety question, anything that we can give you advice on,” Deputy Tarrazas said.

While the river is a popular hot spot during the summer, it can be one of the most dangerous places to be.

“Look at this current that is moving right here. Now that looks like it’s smooth calm water. That is current and it’s moving,” Deputy Tarrazas said.

In case you fall out of your water craft, he has some advice.

“Feet down river, butt up off the ground, off the floor and that’s to avoid hazards, you don’t want to be striking your bottom on rocks,” Deputy Tarrazas said.

Most importantly, deputies want to make sure you never forget the power of the river.

“I wouldn’t go in anywhere on this river higher than my knees. That’s the chance you take of getting swept away,” Deputy Tarrazas said.

Marine Patrol has a few more tips for you to stay safe in the river this summer:

  • Use the buddy system
  • Have a plan of where you’re going to be and when
  • Let someone outside of your group know your plan as well
  • Wearing a life vest is always a good idea when you’re in any body of water
  • Bring a first aid kit

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