River is warming up and calming down

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MESA COUNTY, Colo. (KJCT) -- The snowpack melt has pretty much run its course. So this time of year is when we see the river start to slow down, and get a bit warmer. But you still have to take those safety precautions.

"They’ve never done anything like this," said Tina Emberger, who was taking her kids rafting Friday.

The Emberger family was preparing Friday for their first rafting trip.

“We talked about even though it might seem safe, and the water is nice and calm, there are still dangers we need to be careful of," said Emberger.

Even though it seems like we report on river drownings and accidents regularly this time of year, people still tend to let their guard down.

“The water is great, the river is very nice, water is getting down really low," said Doug Sieckert, with Mesa County Search and Rescue. “The pressure of the water is still strong where it can hold you there and pull you under and you can drown."

There are also lurking dangers under the water.

“Watch out for strainers, logs in the river, branches so you don't get caught on those. Rafts that can get punctured by branches and get hung up on something," said Sieckert.

Having the right raft is critical.

"It has a solid bottom so everything is contained in the one thing, that's really good because that way we don't have to worry about their little booties slipping through the hole, everyone is nice and contained,” said Emberger.

Sieckert said the number one problem rescue teams see, "Our biggest thing is people not wearing life jackets.”

"It’s their first time, but probably not their last. It's important they get this foundation now and know how to act in case they do it on their own sometime, someday,” said Emberger.

Saturday Mesa County Search and Rescue will be holding a raft down the river event open to the community. It’s a chance for people to learn a bit more about safety on our waterways.

They will start at Corn Lake between 9 and 11 a.m. and float down to Watson Lake.

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