It's warm out. The water is freezing. Do the math.
Western Washington weather is expected to significantly warm up in late June, starting this weekend. Keep in mind, however, that local lakes and rivers remain very, very cold — dangerously cold. In other words, don't go jump into it.
Reporters have a handful of stories that come around every year, like clockwork. Stories that say the holidays have arrived, or when that Copper River salmon is flown into Seattle each spring.
And across the Northwest, when the sun first warms things up, there is an inevitable story reminding people that all the water in the lakes and rivers around here is ice cold — it's not a good idea to go jump in it. Still, every year, there are folks who just haven't learned this lesson.
“In the first seconds of falling into the cold water there is a gasp reflex," boating educator Derek Van Dyke told KUOW. "And when you gasp when you're falling in the water, you can aspirate or swallow water. And in many cases that could be the initial (instance) where drowning happens; in the first seconds in the water.”
Also, the water is cold. That can make your body cold, aka hypothermia.
Water temperatures in Puget Sound, and other local bodies of water, generally sit at around 50 degrees. They don't get much warmer than that, even later on in the summer. Which makes sense. All that water is coming from just up the mountain where it was very recently ice — so that's nearly ice water you're jumping into.
Van Dyke urges everyone going out on the water to wear a life vest. Also, consider wearing a whistle so boaters can hear your calls for help if you get into trouble.
You can be certain that King County Sheriff’s marine and rescue dive unit is gearing up right now in advance of paddle boarders and boaters hitting the water, and for people just jumping into the freeze.