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Avista, Spokane County Promote Safety On The Spokane River

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

With summer now officially here, Avista and the Spokane County sheriff’s office are reminding people to be careful on the water this summer.

Deputy Jim Ebel coordinates the marine enforcement division for the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office. He says local ordinances require people who use the Spokane River  to wear life jackets. But he says only about half do.

Ebel says, even though the water isn’t that deep in some parts of the river, it can still be a dangerous body of water.

“The last Coast Guard study that was put out, there’s more recreational boating fatalities off of our paddle sports than any motor boats," Ebel said. "We’re really starting to target the paddle sports heavy this year, so the partnership with Avista has been fantastic for us to try to get that message out.”

Avista has donated several life jackets to the sheriff’s office to give people to wear when they run across someone who isn’t following the law.

Avista also urges boaters to be mindful of the safety cables upstream from the dams on the river that warn about impending danger.