Health Department Urges Swim Hole Safety

Vermont Department of Health

   News Release: July 5, 2013


Vermont Department of Health

BURLINGTON – The Vermont Department of Health is urging everyone who plans to swim in a river or stream to use extreme caution and stay away from swift moving water as record rainfall has swollen waterways statewide.

While swimming is an excellent way to escape high heat and humidity, frequent flash flooding has made many swim holes, rivers and streams unpredictable and dangerous.

“The recent drownings in Barre and Bristol are tragic and we want to reiterate our warning -- many swim areas that are usually not hazardous are now unsafe,” said Health Commissioner Harry Chen, MD. ”Even the strongest, expert swimmer can be swept away.”

Colchester Technical Rescue, which formed in 1989 and includes highly trained expert divers and swimmers who must be capable of swimming long distances in strong currents is also urging everyone to use extreme caution.

“The rivers are wild right now,” said Mike Cannon, who leads Colchester Technical Rescue. “Stay out of any area with fast moving water. The rivers are ripping right now.”

Approximately half of all drowning deaths in Vermont occur in natural water settings such as lakes and rivers.

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