SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — With the weather warming, many people are hitting valley waterways for the first time this season. Officials are warning there are still a lot of hidden dangers, and park rangers are bracing for the big crowds this weekend.
Sacramento area rivers are starting to get packed with people trying to beat the heat. So, what’s it like in the water?READ MORE: 'He Gives Me Everything To Be': Therapy Dog For Woman In Wheelchair Now Needs Wheelchair Of His Own
Rob Macias wanted to take his family to the river on Memorial Day, but it was too chilly. Now, he says, it’s just right.
“I think it’s refreshing. it takes a minute for your body to get used to it but as long as you are safe and playing in the shallows it’s awesome,” Macias said.
Park Rangers warn the water temperatures are still potentially dangerous, saying hypothermia can still set in pretty quickly at 55 degrees. Their biggest concern is the strong current.
“It’s usually always calmer on the surface water so the current is underneath that,” said Sgt. Paul Nanfito, Sacramento County Park Ranger.READ MORE: Sacramento Police Officer Justin Shepard Arrested For Alleged Domestic Violence Incident
Twice as much water is now being released on the lower American River. Compared to the same time last year.
On the Sacramento River, water levels are five feet higher, reducing the size of beaches. Also in Sacramento, Sand Cove Park, along the Garden Highway, remains closed due to an unstable shoreline.
Once temperatures warm up, this year’s water recreation season could potentially last a lot longer, thanks to our record-breaking wet winter.
“We’re going to have high river flows quite a lot longer than we did last year,” Nanfito said.
By law, children under the age of 13 are required to wear life jackets. Also, anyone operating a motorboat who is 25 or younger must now have a license from a boater safety course.MORE NEWS: San Andreas Hostage Situation: Deputy And Hostage Shot, Suspect Killed
You can find free life jackets to borrow from the division of boating and waterways here.