The Fresno Sheriff’s Office is asking people to be extra cautious if they are out on waterways and rivers and always wear a life jacket.
“You need to wear a life vest,” said Sheriff Deputy Alex Nikolich. “I mean someone may be perfectly fine with just floating but just a little way up there is a huge strainer. They get caught, knocked off, and god forbid hit their head on something.”
Now that the snowpack is melting, the Kings River water level is rising, this causes dangerous water conditions that could soon turn rough and eventually lead to someone getting stuck.
“It is a real big hazard,” said Nikolich. “You would be surprised. A lot of search and rescue recoveries that we have gone to are people that could not swim.”
His tips for staying safe are: never go alone, check water conditions online ahead of time, and always wear a fitted life jacket especially when the water is as cold as it is now potentially leading to hypothermia.
“It could all spell disaster for people who are just looking to have a fun weekend,” said Nikolich.
Nikolich said it is important to make sure the life jacket is the right size. Another danger he said he often sees, is people being under the influence of alcohol and recommends not to drink while in the water.
So far this season, the Sheriff’s Office has not been called on any serious rescues.