Enjoying the holiday weekend — safely

Tips for staying safe on the water this summer

The Fourth of July holiday Friday means a long weekend for many Central Oregonians and their families. With sunny weather and warmer temperatures in the forecast, the Deschutes River will likely be a popular spot for daytime water activities. Keep these tips in mind for water safety:

• Pay close attention to signs and warnings along the river float route (Riverbend Park to Drake Park) indicating where to exit to portage around the Colorado spillway. Once past the Les Schwab Amphitheater, you’ll need to navigate left facing downstream to exit the river.

• A life jacket is required for each adult passenger on water crafts. These include canoes, kayaks, multichamber inflatable rafts, kayaks, flat boats, tubes and paddleboards. Rings and seat cushions do not meet this requirement.

• Children 12 and under must wear a life jacket while the water craft is underway.

• Bend city ordinance prevents drinking on or in the Deschutes River.

• Protect native plants and wildlife by getting in and out of the water at designated areas.

• Help keep the river clean by securing gear.

• Know the water: It may be colder and deeper than it looks. Very cold water has the potential to overwhelm any swimmer. Also know that currents can change rapidly in downstream areas.

• Pay close and constant attention to children and inexperienced swimmers you are supervising in or near the river.

• Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water at regular intervals, even if you’re not thirsty.

• Check weather conditions.

• Take a basic first-aid kit and, suitable clothing, suncreen and a cellphone in a waterproof bag.

• Don’t float or boat alone and designate a group leader.