June 19, 2020
Contact: Paige Pearson, 804.593.2051, firstname.lastname@example.org
FORECASTED FLOODING AND HEAVY RAINS LEAD TO FATAL BOATING CONDITIONS
RICHMOND, VA — The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) would like to advise recreational boaters to use extreme caution this weekend as the National Weather Service has issued FLOOD WARNINGS in several locations throughout Virginia and water temperatures remain dangerously cold.
DGIF Conservation Police Officers (CPO’s) have responded to and worked several boating incidents that have resulted in fatalities and injuries to boaters who have attempted to navigate waters that were affected by heavy rains and cold temperatures. Navigating rivers in these conditions can be hazardous due to significantly higher than normal water levels and trash and other debris that could be floating at the surface just below the waterline.
“Disregarding safety messages and attempting to boat on rising or flooded waters not only puts the boaters at risk, but also our CPOs and other first responders who are called to rescue them,” said Major Scott Naff with DGIF’s Conservation Police. Major Naff also urges the boating public to heed safety warnings and check conditions before they attempt to launch.
If you are a canoer, kayaker or other recreational boater and chose to launch on any river, DGIF makes the following recommendations:
We strongly urge you to think before you go. Always check local river conditions. A resource for this is the American Whitewater website: https://www.americanwhitewater.org
Check your local forecast. Pop-up storms can cause flash flooding and water levels can change drastically and quickly.
Be aware that it is possible that high water will force the temporary closing of some boat ramps.
Have a good plan and share your plan with someone who knows where you will be and when to expect you to return.
Finally, make sure you have the proper equipment on board and that you wear a properly-sized and fitted life jacket. Remember that life jackets DO save lives!
DGIF is the boating agency for the Commonwealth and strives to ensure the safety of all who venture out to enjoy time on Virginia’s waterways. DGIF recommends that all boaters and paddlers take a boating safety course, whether they are required to or not by law.
Information on taking a boating safety course can be found here: https://www.dgif.virginia.gov/boating/education/requirement/steps-to-requirement/
ALWAYS WEAR YOUR LIFE JACKET – IT WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE
PLEASE DO NOT DISREGARD SAFETY MESSAGES. THEY ARE THERE TO PROTECT YOU!