Kings River Safety
When the summer heat is here, everyone from children to adults will be looking for a place to cool off. One of the more popular places to do this is at our very own Reedley Beach on the Kings River. This area offers a wonderful sandy beach, lots of shade trees and restrooms. In addition, Cricket Hollow Park and Smith’s Ferry Park offer beautiful lawn areas, benches and bar-b-ques for gathering together near the water’s edge.
While the Kings River portrays itself as a meandering and serene waterway, it can be very dangerous. The beach area is very popular for young children, but the ever-changing sandy beach can have a very steep drop-off that can surprise even the best of swimmers. The banks of Cricket Hollow and Smith’s Ferry Parks are very steep as well and swimming is discouraged in these areas. A sudden plunge into the cold water can take your breath away and cause panic. Prolonged exposure in the cold water can result in hypothermia. You can become incapacitated to swim or rescue yourself in as little as 10 minutes in cold water. With the relentless current, swimmers who try to swim across the river will tire quickly. Keep in mind the banks of Cricket Hollow and Smith’s Ferry Parks are very steep and difficult to climb. Swimming is not allowed in these areas.
The following safety tips should be followed at the beach and park areas:
- Know how to swim and always wear Coast Guard approved life vests.
- Only swim in designated areas.
- Swim with others - never by yourself.
- Wear proper swimming attire.
- Watch children closely at all times, keep them in your line of sight.
- Children should always wear a Coast Guard approved life vest.
- Air filled swimming aids, such as “water wings” are not considered safety devices and are not substitutes for personal flotation devices.
- Never dive or swim in unknown waters.
- Protect your skin from the sun.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Stay out of the main current.
- Do not attempt to swim across the river.
For those of you that like to float down the river, extra safety precautions should be considered as well:
- Never float alone.
- Wear an approved Coast Guard life vest.
- Do not overload the raft.
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
- Stay near the middle of the river to avoid bushes and trees.
- Never tie rafts or tubes together.
- Avoid consuming alcohol.
- Only float in designated areas, floating is not permitted south of the Olsen Ave. Bridge.
- Schedule your float to end well before nightfall.
- Most importantly, tell someone where you are going, when you expect to return and where to call if you don’t.
Boaters (power boats, personal watercraft, kayaks, etc.) should consider the following:
- Know and comply with all boating regulations.
- Obey the speed limits.
- Be courteous to swimmers, floaters, other boaters and shoreline properties.
- “No Wake” or 5mph maximum speed within 200 feet or less of docks, marinas, piers, moorages, boathouses and boat ramps.
- Boat operators must slow to “no wake” speed and stay at least 100 feet away from swimmers.
- Do not overload your boat.
- Avoid alcohol consumption. Operating a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal. BUI has become the leading contributing factor in fatal recreational boating accidents.
Specific boating speed limits in the Reedley area are as follows:
- 5 MPH – Cricket Hollow launch ramp and 200 ft. up and down stream.
- 40 MPH- 200 feet downstream of Cricket Hollow to county line.
- 10 MPH – 200 feet upstream of Cricket hollow to Pine Flat Dam.
- ALL VESSELS MUST BE UNDER POWER AT ALL TIMES BELOW OLSEN BRIDGE.
For additional boating and general water safety information, please visit:California Division of Boats and Waterways
United States Coast Guard
Fresno County Water Safety Council
Regulations specific to the Kings River and Fresno County can be viewed at www.fresnosheriff.org and clicking on “Specialty Teams”, then “Boating Enforcement”.