King County urges safety around lakes, rivers and Puget Sound this Fourth of July

With sunny skies and soaring temperatures expected in the days leading up to the long Independence Day weekend, King County officials are urging everyone to be extremely careful when heading out on the water.

“Rivers and lakes are beautiful, but they can be dangerous too, and it is important to use caution and wear a life vest when going out on the water,” said Christie True, Director of the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks.

“Lifejackets are to water like seatbelts are to cars – standard safety equipment for the trip,” said Dr. David Fleming, Director and Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County. “For safer swimming, take advantage of local lifeguarded beaches or pools.”

A 2012 study of recreational river use along the Cedar River confirmed that water-related summer recreation is greatly determined by warm temperatures.

When temperatures are in the 70s, there are likely to be floaters on the river. Swimming, inner-tubing and related activities soar when temperatures top 80 or more.

Lakes, rivers and Puget Sound can all be extremely cold this time of year. Swift rivers fed by an above-average snowmelt are still hovering below 50 degrees, while temperatures on Puget Sound and area lakes not much warmer.

For details about river safety, visit For more information on water safety and drowning prevention, visit the King County Water Safety website,


We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

Read the Oct 21
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates