The Curry Coastal Pilot

Don't let the summer dates on the calendar or the recent warm weather fool you: The waters of the Wild Rivers Coast are still running fast and cold.

Tragedy struck this weekend when a man died while rescuing his son on the Smith River Monday. The 9-year-old was swept away by the current, authorities said. Closer to Brookings, several people have drowned on the Chetco and Rogue rivers in recent years.

These popular waterways andndash; where many of us love to play all summer long andndash; are still dangerously swift and spring-time cold. That means using common sense along the river, for yourself and for any children that might be in your care.

Here are some of the most common tips:

andbull;Assess swimming skills before you let anyone go in the water, even to wade. If someone doesn't know how to swim, they should stay out of the water andndash; and check into swimming lessons at the Brookings City Pool.

andbull;Use the buddy system. Everyone in your party should have someone who is keeping tabs on them, and someone they are watching.

andbull;Do some training. Show children how slippery the rocky river bottom can be. Point out those dangerous spots where the current hits a big rock, and can easily trap and drown someone. Teach newcomers how to float safely if they are caught in deep or swift water.

andbull;Require lifejackets for anyone in a kayak, canoe or other flotation toy that might be going down any kind of rough water.

andbull;Don't mix alcohol and river safety. Your impaired judgment can endanger both yourself and others.

Summer flows and temperatures often make our rivers a mellow place for summertime fun but please, be careful!