PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – As Labor Day approaches, it’s a big weekend to get out on the water.

The Oregon State Marine Board, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and Portland Fire and Rescue want to remind people to be careful, to stay sober, and to wear a life jacket.

“Rivers are dynamic and inherently dangerous,” said Ashley Massey, public information officer for the Oregon State Marine Board.

“They’re never the same way twice. There are obstacles just below the surface, there are shoals, there are gravel bars. Water levels have a big impact on operation. . So you have to bring your skills and your attention with you. “

The key is not to be overconfident in the water.

“The river just isn’t as clear as a pool so there are a lot of things you need to be aware of as they work,” said Sean Whalen, Portland Fire and Rescue Harbor Captain.

“And then even if you are a good swimmer or you feel comfortable in the water, there are always dangers in rivers and you know natural streams that do not exist in swimming pools. . “

Image: KPTV

The US Army Corps of Engineers says water levels are low statewide.

“Which means increased risks in the water, the water will not look like it was in previous years,” said Tessa Rough.

But despite the dangers, the number of boating-related fatalities is dropping in Oregon.

The Oregon State Marine Board says there were 27 boating-related fatalities in the state in 2020.

That’s compared to 10 this year.

According to all of these agencies, wearing a life jacket can mean life or death.

The Oregon State Marine Board says you have a cylinder of active carbon dioxide in your life jacket.

If you are on a boat 16 feet or more, the US Army Corps of Engineers says you must have a disposable device like a rope that can reach people during a potential rescue.

To find lifejacket loan stations statewide, click here.

Copyright 2021 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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