James river gets exclusive with high water

By Sunni Blevins - bio | email

Posted by Phil Riggan - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - All this recent rain has created a rapidly-moving river and put levels on the James River above nine feet as it passes through the Richmond area.

That means by law, you need a high water permit if you want to brave the waters.

A high water permit will cost you $10 bucks...but you're not likely to get one unless you have a lot of experience.

We spotted kayakers at Pony Pasture Park along the James today. According to a spokesman from Richmond Fire -- these are the type of people that would be allowed to get a high water permit.

Authorities say the laws are all about staying safe and they've recently had some examples of dangerous situations.

In fact -- just two weekends ago, four people had to be rescued when the river was at only about six feet.

They'd made their way out to rocks in the middle of the river, but couldn't back to shore because of the high water. Those people were all rescued safely, but that might not always be the case.

"Certainly it could take a turn for the worse if you came out here say on a day like today and you don't have experience and you don't have a permit and you don't have a life jacket, you are putting yourself in harm's way," said Lt. Shawn Jones, Richmond Fire Department.

You can get a high water permit from Fire Station 1 in Richmond -- that's located at the intersection of 24th and Broad streets.   You can stop by or call 646-4229. Check the river levels by dialing 646-8228 -- press option 4.

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