GOLD HILL, Ore. -- The Jackson County Sheriff's office is honing its search and rescue skills along parts of the Rogue River. Today, deputies will be inside drift boats near Valley of the Rogue State Park, using the boats to get to hard-to-reach areas of the water. This training is especially important this time of year as more people are expected to take advantage of the warm weather and summer free-time with kids.
Local law enforcement says if you're planning on going to the river soon, there are a few safety tips to keep in mind before getting in the water. First, always wear a life jacket. Next, know the temperature of the water as cold water can be deadly. Water between 50 and 60 degrees can potentially affect a person's breathing and this week the Rogue has dipped as low as 51 degrees.
"Check the water temperature. It's 51 degrees today," said Oregon State Marine Board trainer, Ed Persichetti. "We've warned the [public] time and time again [that] the water is cold. Wear a dry suit. The public might not know that. So go on down where you want to float that river. Check on that water temperature. "
Law enforcement also recommends keeping a buddy with you and if you see someone in distress, call 911. Don't go in the water after that person.
You check water temperature and even water levels for the Rogue River through the Bureau of Land Mangement.