Enjoying the River: Safety Around Our Natural Waterways
As people of Salt River, we know how to stay cool in the Valley’s extreme temperatures. One of the major ways is to take a dip in the cool waters of the Verde River, a tradition for many Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community members.
While enjoying the river we have to always remember safety first. Our natural waterways may feel like home to us, but they also have their share of dangers, from fast currents to the wildlife that share the river with us.
When heading out to the river, be sure to pack some essentials before your day of fun:
- Water or Gatorade—Helps you stay hydrated while out in the water and heat.
- Sunscreen or adequate shade—Helps prevent sunburn.
- Light food or snacks—So everyone has enough energy to keep up with activities.
- Fully charged phone and first-aid kit—In case of emergency or injury.
- Aquatic socks/shoes—Protect feet from being burned, scratched or cut on the rocks and debris in the water.
- Proper life vest for children—Life jackets are an approved flotation device. Inflatable and/or foam toys are not approved flotation devices.
The river may have some dangers that many overlook. Some key things to be aware of when at the river:
- Wildlife—The river is home to many animals from wild horses to snakes, so always be aware.
- Fast/undercurrents—Rivers have fast-moving/under currents that can overpower swimmers, so stay clear of them.
- Cold water—Fast entry into cold water could shock your body.
- Trash and debris—Watch for fishing lines, hooks, branches and trash. Also be sure to use the many trash cans provided by the ranger for waste disposal.
- Head count—Make sure to do a head count of everyone so as to not lose anyone.
- No diving—You may accidentally hit the rocks or bottom of the river.
- No alcohol—Never consume alcohol in or around water, especially on very hot days. It may inhibit your ability to swim and to respond quickly in case of emergency.
- Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)—Make sure someone in the party knows how to perform CPR. It saves lives.
Knowing and being aware of the dangers can help to prevent emergencies, while also making the trip a fun experience for all who are enjoying the river. Have a fun and save summer, remember to respect the water and never underestimate the river.
CPR certification is provided by SRPMIC Health and Human Services, (480) 362-5568.
Swimming lessons are offered by the SRPMIC Recreation Department; for information call (480) 362-6360.