Water Safety

Kids always need to be watched by an adult when near the water. Seattle Children's Hospital offers tips and resources to keep kids safe around water.

Each year, Arlington Fire responds to multiple incidents on the Stillaguamish River and nearby lakes and streams. Your best way to stay safe in and near the Stillaguamish River is to stay out of the water. If you insist on going in the river, wear a life jacket.

The City of Arlington now offers the Splash Pad at Haller Park to enjoy the water while staying out of the river.

Know the water. Know your limits. Wear a life jacket.

To have a good time around the water, plan ahead and use good judgement. To be safe, you need to think about the water conditions, your own limits, and the use of safety gear like life jackets.

Know the water

Cold water can kill. Many lakes and rivers are cold enough to cause hypothermia, even in summer. Calm rivers can hide swift currents, rocks, and tree branches. High running rivers in the spring are most dangerous. Before you jump in, make sure you're in a designated swimming area, and remember the safest places to swim are those areas with lifeguards on duty.

  • Avoid swimming or boating in high running water. Check water conditions before setting out.
  • Check how cold or fast the water is running before you jump in.
  • Avoid swimming where two rivers come together, or where two branches of a river come together. Many good swimmers have gotten into trouble or drowned in currents that didn't seem to be moving that fast.
  • Respond quickly if someone appears to be in trouble. Drowning does not look like it does on TV or in the movies. It is often silent, with few clues that the person is in real trouble.
  • Never dive or jump into unfamiliar or shallow water. Check for submerged objects and make sure the water is at least 10 to 12 feet deep.

Know your limits

Swimming in lakes and rivers is harder than swimming in a pool. Drowning most often happens when someone gets too tired to make it back to shore. Friends who are there are tired, too, and can't help.

  • Always have a water watcher! Keep constant focus on the people in the water and avoid doing things that could distract you such as talking, reading, or talking on the phone.
  • If you don't know how to swim well, find someone to teach you. Learn to float and tread water, too.
  • If you are tired, rest and stay out of the water.
  • Never use alcohol or drugs while you're swimming, diving or in a boat. Alcohol's effects are heightened by the weather, water, and boat movement.
  • Learn what to do for a water rescue or when someone stops breathing. Learn CPR.

Wear a life jacket

No matter how good a swimmer you are, it is easy to misjudge the water or your skills. Weather and water conditions change quickly. Once you get tired or fall in, it may be too late to put on a life jacket.

  • Wear a life jacket when you're boating, innertubing, or rafting. Boat owners are required by law to carry life jackets in their boats. Wear one even if you can swim.
  • Wear a life jacket if you are swimming in a lake or river where there are no lifeguards.