MCLEAN, Va. (CBSDC) — Warmer days are upon us and the National Park Service and local fire and rescue units are urging staycationers be mindful of river safety.

Four friends who decided to attempt a dip in the Potomac Tuesday found out the hard way that the river is as dangerous as it is beautiful. After jumping in, one got swept away. Luckily, Fairfax Fire and Rescue and other crews were out practicing and were able to save him.

Rescuers will have some help this summer from the Potomac Paddlers Volunteers, who be out in kayaks to help enforce visitor safety, but Great Falls Park officials say self-policing is still necessary.

Swimming is prohibited in the park and throughout the Potomac River Gorge, a 14-mile stretch that extends from the Key Bridge in D.C. north to the falls, because of the strong unpredictable currents, jagged rocks and roaring rapids.

“More than half, 51 percent, of all river-related injuries in the Potomac River are fatal,” one rescue worker told WNEW’s Karen Adams.

They said there are three key words to remember while sight-seeing near rivers, especially the Potomac. Beauty, Danger, Respect.

WNEW’s Karen Adams contributed to this report. Follow her and WNEW on Twitter.


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