The Columbia River is breathtaking, and its beauty is definitely worth enjoying. As temperatures heat up this summer, it is important to prioritize safety when swimming in this majestic river. Although swimming and boating in the Columbia can be fun, preventable accidents occur every year. In this blog post, we will explore some valuable tips to ensure a safe swimming experience in the Tri-Cities.

Respect the river

The first step towards safe swimming is understanding the river’s dynamics. The Columbia River is a powerful body of water, and its currents are powerful. If you aren’t careful, you could be swept away far downstream. Pay attention to weather conditions, as wind and storms can impact water conditions and make swimming unsafe. Consulting local authorities or experienced swimmers familiar with the river can provide valuable insights and guidance.

Choose safe swimming locations

When selecting a swimming spot in the Columbia River, it is important to stay close to the shore. Since the currents are so powerful, it can be difficult to make it back to shore if you swim too far out. Having a flotation device is always the safest option when swimming in the Columbia. In fact, not having a personal flotation device (PFD) could be considered negligent. Avoid swimming in areas with strong currents, rapids, or near dams, as these can pose significant risks.

Swim with a Buddy

Swimming with a buddy is crucial for ensuring safety. Having someone with you can provide assistance in case of emergencies and help monitor each other’s well-being. If possible, choose a swimming partner who is experienced and familiar with the river’s conditions. Remember to communicate your swimming plans with someone onshore, letting them know when you’ll be swimming and when you expect to return. Swimming with friends or family is also much more fun!

Columbia River polar plunge Richland

It’s important to know that many drownings occur when people are swimming alone, or when children are not being carefully watched by someone on shore. Drownings are silent and quick, so it is best to always be with a friend or parent.

Be aware of your swimming ability

It’s essential to be honest about your swimming abilities and only venture into areas that match your skill level. The Columbia River’s currents can be strong, and even experienced swimmers can face challenges. If you’re not a confident swimmer, consider wearing a personal flotation device to ensure your safety. It’s better to enjoy the water within your comfort zone rather than risking your wellbeing in hazardous conditions.

Wrapping it up

Swimming in the Columbia River can be a summer highlight if done safely. By understanding the river’s dynamics, choosing safe swimming locations, swimming with a buddy, and being aware of your own abilities, you can enjoy the river’s beauty while minimizing risks. Remember, safety should always be the top priority when exploring the waters of the Columbia River. However, accidents do happen. If you have questions regarding boating or other accident liability, feel free to give Anderson Law a call.


Leave a Reply