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Stay safe and sane when you're out on the water

Stay safe and sane when you're out on the water

SPOKANE, Wash. - As the temperatures rise the appeal of cooling off in the Spokane River only becomes that much greater but there are a few things you want to keep in mind before you jump in.

Earlier this week a family's raft capsized in the Spokane River. All swam to shore safely and officials give credit to their life jackets. They say it's a simple solution to avoid the risk of drowning.

"Folks need to have life vests if they are on the water ways in Spokane County in a vessel," Spokane County Sheriff's Deputy Craig Chamberlin said.

All children under the age of 12 are required by law to wear a life jacket at all times and everyone is required to wear one in the Spokane River.

In addition to wearing life jackets, Ben King from Row Adventure Center says it's important for you to be familiar with the water.

"The river is a dynamic thing and it does change a lot so we always check our water levels every day before we go out," King said.

A rainstorm upstream can spike water levels and on the flip side of that there's the possibility of the water being too shallow.

"Sometimes when it gets pretty low you're just running into too many rocks and it can really spoil the experience on the river," he said.

King said that when you put a life jacket it on you need to make sure it fits. says safety first. If you pull up on it and it goes past your ears it's too big. It's all about mitigating the risks to enjoy the river.

"It's something that you shouldn't necessarily be afraid of, it's just something you want to be knowledgeable about," he said.

Officials want people to be cautious and courteous when on the water, to avoid tragedies. Patrols will be on the water this holiday weekend and horseplay, like getting within 100 feet of another jet ski, could land you in jail.

"We want to make sure it is a safe, fun Fourth of July weekend where we don't have to deal with any injuries or dealing with anybody getting hurt," Deputy Chamberlin said.

Until September 30, Big 5 Sporting Goods is offering a coupon good for 25-percent off a life jacket. Click here to get that coupon.