Outdoors blog

FRIDAY, APRIL 20, 2012, 3:45 P.M.

Hot weather, cold water dangerous combo on area waters

Dan Hansen and  Therese Wittman were glad there was a an air bladder in the canoe when they tipped over while surfing a wave on Hangman Creek. The air bag helped keep the boat on top of the water and easy to work it to shore. (Julie Titone)
Dan Hansen and Therese Wittman were glad there was a an air bladder in the canoe when they tipped over while surfing a wave on Hangman Creek. The air bag helped keep the boat on top of the water and easy to work it to shore. (Julie Titone)

RIVERS -- Water in area rivers and lakes may look tempting during warmer weather forecast for the weekend, but experts say rivers and lakes remain deadly cold.

Cold water immersion can render a person helpless in minutes regardless of sunny skies and warm air temps. Hypothermia can kill you in a few minutes more.

Experienced paddlers wear wet suits or dry suits in cold waters and launch in groups to help each other out in case of unplanned swims.

At least five non-motorized boating fatalities have been recorded by Washington State Parks since March 17, the highest in any year since 2002.

On April 1, a Gonzaga University student died from hypothermia suffered after his kayak capsized in Rock Lake. One man is dead after being swept away in the Spokane River this month; a capsized canoeist remains missing.

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Rich Landers
Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.

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