King County urges caution on lakes, rivers over the long Memorial Day weekend

May 24, 2013

NEW — 3:20 p.m. May 24, 2013

Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial kickoff to the summertime outdoor recreation season, and King County officials are urging everyone to use caution when around open water.

County officials expressed heightened concern about swimmer safety, given that 24 preventable drowning deaths were recorded in King County in 2012 – up from an average of 17 per year over the previous four years.

“We know that many of these tragic drowning deaths could have been avoided by simply wearing a personal flotation device and using common sense,” said Sheriff John Urquhart. “We have already performed numerous emergency rescues on the water this year, because people were either ill-prepared for conditions or overestimated their ability to avoid dangerous situations.” Read more