The Matanuska Susitna Borough Department of Emergency Services (DES) reminds all residents and visitors to exercise safe water and boating practices during outdoor activities. The ice is gone from most of our waterways, and as warm weather arrives, the public is anxious to get out and enjoy the outdoors. Whether it is swimming, kayaking, canoeing, rafting, boating or other related activities, it is important to be prepared and to recreate safely.
There are steps the public can take to engage in these activities safely and reduce the risk of accidents or injuries. Your local borough fire departments, EMS and the Water Rescue Team is ready to aid as necessary, but accident prevention is crucial for a safe and enjoyable outing. Please incorporate the following guidelines while being active in outdoor areas of the Mat-Su Borough:
These protect you if you are unexpectedly thrown into the water. Water temperatures are typically below 45 °F and are always classified as "cold". These low water temperatures quickly drain even the best swimmers strength and endurance.
Local silty rivers make it difficult to see obstructions and other hazards in the water. Be particularly cautious near obstructions such as logs and trees that are either just above or just below the water surface. These create a hazard and may flip a canoe, kayak, raft, or damage a larger boat.
There are numerous devices available to carry while you are on the water to aid in rescue.
Children should be in an approp1iately sized PFD and never left unattended.
Depending on vessel size, here are some items to include: A lifejacket for
each passenger, a throwable floatation aid, signaling equipment, first aid kit, and a
communications device (cellphone or other satellite based device) is strongly
Inform a friend or relative of your "float plan" and when you are expected to return.
Be familiar with the area that you are in as water conditions can change day to day.
Always enter slowly and never dive in. A person can go under water in a murky lake or be swept away in river currents making them hard to find. Swimming in natural bodies of water require more knowledge and skills than in a swimming pool.
Please recreate safely in the Mat-Su Borough! Additional infonnation is available from the Alaska Office of Boating Safety, including an "Alaska Boater's Handbook" which contains a lot of valuable information. www.alaskaboatingsafety.org. Thank you.