After first drowning of the year, New River Gorge District Supervisor stresses the importance of water safety

LANSING, WV (WOAY) – After the first drowning in the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve this year, water safety comes into focus.

The New River is a high-volume river, with swift currents, deep holes and a rocky bottom. The water level has been above average for this time of year over the past few days and New River employees emphasize that life jackets should be worn anytime people are in or around the water.

“Any time you’re near a river, you want to wear a life jacket,” said New River Gorge National Park and Preserve District Supervisor Dave Bieri. “That’s more obvious if you’re out whitewater rafting and really planning to be out in the river. Oftentimes, accidents occur when people are not expecting it. When they’re just playing on the shore, swimming or fishing from the shore. So, anytime you’re ever near the river, please wear a lifejacket.”

At the New River and other bodies of water, levels can change daily and conditions can shift quickly, even in familiar areas.

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