Water Safety in Leavenworth

There are few greater joys than a day on the water on a warm summer day, and Leavenworth and the Wenatchee-Okanogan National Forest are blessed with an abundance of pristine alpine lakes and wild rivers. Some common sense safety measures, though, will ensure that a day on the water is a day to treasure.

Some water safety tips:

  • Know the conditions of the season. Spring, summer, fall, and winter, each bring hazards that are unique to the time of year. For instance, in spring the Wenatchee and Icicle rivers typically run higher and swifter. Summer swims can bring crowded waterways.
  • Unleash from your paddleboard. Wearing a leash on a paddle board is extremely dangerous. Leashes are fine on lakes but not on rivers. This is because even the lightest of current is too strong for someone to move themselves around an obstacle if their paddle board is caught on the other side.
  • Swim safely. Swimming on a lake or in a river is a different experience than a swimming pool, and each brings certain hazards. River currents can bring significant risks, and tired swimmers can find trouble in even the most placid alpine lakes.
  • Understand your capabilities. Those who are not strong swimmers should avoid drifting too far off shore. Be particularly careful of sudden drop-offs. In rivers, a sudden change in depth brings rapids, and in lakes the floor can become uncomfortably deep.
  • Boat safely. Whether on a raft or a sturdy motorized boat, always wear a proper-fitting life jacket. And never overload a watercraft.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs when on the water. Substances that impair judgment and water can be a lethal combination, and those risks can increase depending on the conditions.

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