I couldn't be more excited for the Boise River float season to open on Wednesday, July 1st, but we've already been met with tragedy and before you just throw in a raft please read these tips for keeping yourself safe and recognize the real dangers of our beautiful river. 

Saturday a woman died floating the Boise River when her raft apparently lost air and she couldn't get out of the water.

Boise Fire Battalion Chief David Cooper told KTVB that the water is deceptively cold. It's around 55 degrees, which can be shockingly cold.

The fire chief also recommends that everyone wear a life-jacket, even though only kids younger than 14 are required to wear them. He says it's kind of like wearing your seatbelt.

"It's no guarantee that there isn't going to be a tragedy on the water, but it's the single most important thing you can do to prevent or limit an accident from happening."

He also reminds us of the natural hazards of the river, which I've personally encountered many times. I'm not a great rower, so I can't even tell you how many times I've ended up in the trees on the side and felt like I was about to have my head chopped off. I won't float the river alone or with just my children as a result. If you think it's just a lazy little fun float, you're wrong. It's one of my very favorite things to do in Boise, but you have to be prepared for the swiftness of the river and the trees and rocks that can lead to tragedy.

The fire chief says this is the cardinal rule of rafting.

"What you need to do is you need to put your feet downstream so that any rocks or any other obstructions that are in the way, you can easily bounce off of them and be looking ahead down the water for a safe way to get out."

Have fun, but please take this seriously and be safe. We certainly don't want to see any more lives lost.

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