A frantic call for help, shocked and shattered family and friends standing on the riverbank, an agonizing search for a victim’s body by park rangers and rescue personnel.
It is the sad but true reality that every spring we prepare for this tragic, unnecessary, and easily preventable scenario in our beautiful area parks and waterways.
This Memorial Day weekend, May 24-26, the National Park Service at New River Gorge National River and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Bluestone Lake will present their annual Water Safety Weekend to help visitors safely prepare for the season’s activities on area rivers and lakes.
Each ranger-led activity is designed to demonstrate simple water safety practices that everyone can use to protect their family and friends when recreating in or around area waterways.
Proper fitting and use of a PFD (personal flotation device) or life jacket, boating safety on whitewater, flat-water and lakes, plus safe ways to wade, fish and swim, will be highlighted.
Kids who participate in a special water safety activity at the Sunday program at Bluestone Lake will receive a free “I Got Caught Being Safe” water safety T-shirt.
— Water Safety Roundup, 1 to 4 p.m., Canyon Rim Visitor Center, Lansing. Do you know how to throw a water rescue bag or how to make sure you’ve got the best life jacket for you? Have fun as you try your hand at smart water safety techniques like this and more — from the safety of land.
— River Ranger Rendezvous, 2 to 4 p.m., Sandstone Falls Boardwalk, River Road near Hinton. Learn easy tips to stay safe when you go out on your next fishing or boating river adventure. Come and go as you please for this informal program near the water’s edge.
— Water Safety Festival; 1 to 4 p.m., “The Pits” boat-launch area on Bluestone Lake, W.Va. 20, Hinton. This hands-on festival for all ages features watercraft safety, life jacket fittings, water rescue demonstrations, and much more.