Staying safe while out on the water this Memorial Day Weekend

Use the buddy system and stay in contact with others

french king bridge
The French King Bridge over the Connecticut River between Gill and Erving. WWLP file image

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – With Memorial Day Weekend starting Friday, a lot of people have plans to spend time near and on the water. 2News is working for you with how to stay safe on our rivers, lakes and ponds.

Your smartphone is great piece of safety equipment. They allow you to stay in contact with the people who need to know where you are.

If Memorial Day Weekend stays dry, people will be by the water. Whether you will be boating, swimming, or fishing it should always be safety first.

Most local lakes and ponds have signs posted. If you head to Puffer’s Pond in Amherst you will certainly see. One says “No alcohol” “Swim at your own risk” and “Keep off dam and ledges”.

Or you might see a “home-made” sign, which was spray-painted on a cement block, saying, “Its 10pm do you know where your kids are?” These are all reminders to make good decisions to ensure your safety.

Amherst Fire Chief, Tim Nelson suggests you use the “buddy system” on the water. Chief Nelson, told 22News, “Swim with friends, don’t go off alone, make sure folks know where you are.”

Unlike last spring, the rivers are running much higher, which can lead to other safety issues.

Since recent rain here in western Massachusetts water levels are high and it doesn’t take much force from the water to take a person under. Chief Nelson went on to tell 22News, “They’re flowing quickly, you can be swept away from water that’s a foot and a half deep stay away from streams and rivers.”

Most rivers and ponds are too cold for swimming this time of the year.

You can find what parks are open for Memorial Day Weekend here.