Police spread water safety awareness as Washingtonians flock to lakes and rivers

With temperatures warming up, more people are out enjoying Washington’s lakes and rivers. But with the water fun comes the water dangers, and official want to make sure people across our state are staying safe this season.

Governor Jay Inslee has declared this week Paddle Safe Week, a way to remind everyone of the best ways to stay safe while out on the water. 

“Right now paddle sports is booming,” said Officer Dennis Irwin with Lake Stevens Police Department’s Marine Unit. “With stand up paddles and kayaks people don’t understand they’re considered a vessel. Theyre required to have a life vest and a whistle on board. If you’re under 13 you have to wear it.” 

Over the weekend on Lake Stevens, officers from their Marine Unit were out patrolling the lake while reminding people of the laws and safety rules.

Officials say before getting out on the water it’s important to know the laws, know your limits, and carry the proper equipment in case of an emergency.

Police said they’re also on the lookout for intoxicated boaters.

“Be careful with this good weather. Some people want to partake in alcohol,” said Officer Irwin. “BUI is a big deal. We don’t have lane markings so you have to be cognizant of everyone around you and what’s going on.” 

Even with temperatures reaching well into the 80s, the water is colder than you imagine, and sometimes it’s colder than your body can handle.

“Its all about safety,” said Officer Irwin. “I love my job. I don’t want to have to do the hard part of my job, which is body recoveries and people being injured. That’s something I don’t like to do, but if it’s something we have to do I’d rather educate people first.” 

For more information on Paddle Safe Week click here