Scottsville Volunteer Fire Department shares tips to stay safe in the river
SCOTTSVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- The James River can be a fun time during the summer but it can also be dangerous.
After the tragic loss of three siblings in a drowning over the weekend, the Scottsville Volunteer Fire Department wants to remind people how to be safe in the water.
“This spot right here is the Hatton Ferry. We have two problem spots here in the river. One is the rapids, and then obviously the ferry. People sometimes get hung up around it and not understanding the flow of the river,” said Timmy Cersley, assistant chief of SVFD.
Cerlsey says it’s important for people to understand where the channels are.
The Scottsville water rescue practices maneuvering these channels, especially for emergencies when people are stuck on rocks.
“If you do get hung up the riverside, the flow side coming in is going to hold you against the rocks, that’s where people get hung up. But then knowing that if they do get on the back side of the rock, on the back side of the rock, that’s known as an eddy. The water is still and it gives them a chance to relax for a second and figure out their wits in the river,” he said.
When on the river, Cersley says it’s important to be weather-aware.
He also says trees don’t make a good spot to rest in the water.
“You take the potential of being jammed up against it and the river holding you there. And then what can happen is you can be sucked under it. People don’t come up, they get hung up in the branches,” Cersley said.
Another area of concern is dams.
“People look at it and they think well, it’s shallow so I can go across that. And what happens is they get across it and then they drop down and then there’s the vortex that’s right there at the base of the dam that circling. And so if you were to get sucked into that, then you’re basically just doing a circle at the bottom of the dam,” he adds.
Shallow waters are another problematic spot.
“And so there are channels, there are rock ledges and deeper holes in the river and people don’t see those because you can’t see it from the top most of the time,” he said.
He says if you can’t swim even knee-deep water can be dangerous.
A life jacket is always a good idea when you will be on the river.