Preventing drownings a top priority for deputies during heat wave

The combination of the sun and stunning views will be beckoning us to the water during the heatwave, which is why rescue crews say preventing drownings should be the first priority if you have plans to spend any time on the water. 

Deputies Matthew Martin and Nathan Greiert with the King County Sheriff’s Marine Rescue Unit say they often see people not tethering their legs to a paddle board or not wearing a life jacket. 

Greiert purposely falls into the water to show that sometimes the paddle board can travel far away.

"He’s already 20 to 25 feet from his board, ok? And he’s not wearing his life jacket," Martin described, as Greiert gave a demonstration on water safety. 

Martin’s rescue unit alone has seen seven drownings. Six of the seven people who died were not wearing their life jackets, he said.

"Some of our officers take them quite personally because of the preventative nature of it," Martin said.

RELATED:  Deputies urge caution as more than a dozen drownings reported in King County alone in June

Sisters Natalie and Allison Hoffbuhr who were enjoying the sun on Thursday say some people don’t like wearing life jackets for various reasons. But hearing about the tragedies is a good reminder of the importance of one.

"You think what if they had worn a life jacket," Allison Hoffbuhr said.

That safety message rings true for every activity on any body of water whether it’s jet-skiing to boating.

Life on the water can be spectacular, but not if you lose your life to it.

A common misconception is that drownings don’t happen to good swimmers. Martin says sometimes all it takes is a gulp of water to disorient even the most experienced swimmers, which can then lead to panic in the water.

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