Reminder on water safety tips with dry weekend ahead - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

Reminder on water safety tips with dry weekend ahead

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

An early start to the 4th of July holiday includes floating down the James River with friends. But with all the recent rain, Cory McCollum knew to check conditions first.

"I find out what the river height is, what the river speed is," he said.

He knows it can be dangerous.

"I've been coming out here 15 almost 20 years and I pulled maybe five people out a year," he said.  "I don't want to see more people get hurt

While it's been mostly overcast and rainy, forecasters predict sunnier times ahead.

"We finally have a weekend where we don't have rain in the forecast," says NBC12 meteorologist Kevin Jeanes.  "It's been at least three weeks since we actually had a dry weekend."

But that prediction also comes with some caution, forecasters say the rain will cause the river to crest sometime Friday night at just about eight feet.  Anything above five feet means you must wear a flotation device that's approved by the U.S.Coast Guard.

Claire Kerns won't let her six year old son near the water without a vest.

"If the water is too high he's not allowed in at all because the current can get really swift," she said.

"The one that you see in toy stores that can be blown up by parents or something like that, they are not appropriate for water systems such as this," says Lt. Robbie Hagaman with Richmond Fire and Rescue.

Also, have a plan.  Make sure somebody knows how long you'll be out and when you'll be back.

If you're going to be boating, officials are reminding people between the ages of 14 and 40 that they must take a "Safe Boating Class" if they plan on operating a motorboat or personal watercraft.

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