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Snow Melt Means More Flooding, Caution Urged for Boaters
For Immediate Release -6/3/11
Good fit, bad fit -Life JacketThe weekend forecast calls for beautiful, warm weather which means more snow melt flowing to already swollen rivers in Oregon.  The Oregon State Marine Board cautions boaters about launching into swift flowing rivers and to be mindful of their wake during extreme high water.  River banks are saturated and people can easy find themselves swept away in the cold water if a bank gives way.
A flood watch has been in effect for the Columbia and is expected to run through Saturday, with water levels measuring more than a foot above flood stage (17 feet). 
“We’re getting complaints from homeowners that boat wakes are damaging flooded retaining walls and adding to erosion,” says Randy Henry, Policy Analyst for the Marine Board.  “Boaters are urged to stay away from river banks and operate in the main channel of local rivers.”  Henry also urges boaters to observe the river conditions when launching.  “Debris and swift currents make maneuvering from the dock more challenging.”    
“Safety-wise, we’re really concerned.  It may be 80 degrees out, but the rivers are cold and swift, like February or March.  It’s really a deadly combination,” Henry adds.  “Should a bank give way when near a river’s edge, make sure you’re wearing a life jacket.  The water is extremely cold and cold water shock combined with swift current can be fatal.”
For more information about cold water immersion, life jackets and boating safety, visit http://www.boatoregon.com/OSMB/safety/safety.shtml.