SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Thousands of people around Sacramento are celebrating this Fourth of July on the water. The Fourth also happens to be one of the most dangerous holidays for drowning.
It’s a tradition for many families, but not everyone comes prepared.
Jason Alexander is on the DART team. He’s patrolling the Sacramento and American Rivers, making sure everyone is floating above the water.
“The water is still moving pretty fast. You can wade up until your waist and suddenly it drops off and you’re 15 feet deep,” said Alexander.
Alexander says he’s also watching out for another segment of the population:
“Young men 15 to 25 years old who try to swim across the river or do a cannonball and they end up getting in trouble,” he said.
Alexander says what most people don’t realize is how this past winter has affected local rivers and made them more treacherous.
“The American River is flowing fast and cool and it’s really easy to get in, get a chill and cramp and drown,” Alexander added.
“It’s it’s so much higher. I like it so much better I feel like it’s safer actually because during the drought there were twigs everywhere,” said Maria Rodriguez.
Higher water levels may keep Maria safer from the debris in the river but could increase the chances of drowning, according to Alexander.
That’s not keeping Maria out of the water this summer.
“I’m such a water body I can’t stay out of the water,” laughed Maria.
It’s safety first for one guy who’s soaking up all the fun this Fourth of July.
“You gotta be safe if you wanna survive out here. You gotta show the world what it means, to be safe out here,” he sang.
The county is loaning out life vests to the public at Discovery Park and doing fittings in an effort to keep people alive not just on this big holiday, but all summer long.