Sacramento Co. deputies prepared for the worst on waterways as temps rise

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

Every boat planning to head out needs to prepare for a safety check by the sheriff’s office to make sure the boat has all the required items.

SACRAMENTO COUNTY, Calif. — In less than two weeks, it’ll be the start of boating season and also a maximum enforcement weekend for county sheriff’s offices.

The Sacramento County Sheriff Office marine unit has three officers and one sergeant patrol using five boats and two jet skis. They anticipate responding to just shy of 200 incidents for Memorial Day.

Deputy Brian Smith said there will be a variety of calls, including broken down boats, missing swimmers or people in the water.

Many people might not have been in the water for a year, and visitors might not be prepared for the waterways.

“They are used to walking in 70-degree water up to their knees. The way our water ways are shaped, they aren’t gradual. There are steep edges. You are at two feet. You take one step, you’re at 12 feet. You take that breath, you inhale water and you’re done,” said Smith.

Every boat planning to head out needs to prepare for a safety check by the sheriff’s office to make sure the boat has all the required items:

A life vest for everyone on boardSome sort of floatation device to throw to people in the waterA device that makes noise, like a whistle, to call for helpA fire extinguisherA boater safety card

Anyone 60 years old and younger driving a boat needs a boater safety card.

“We did a ton of warnings, and they weren’t getting very good compliance. They asked we step it up and give citations, but it is a correctible citation. So, if they go get their boater safety card, you can get the ticket signed off,” said Smith.

The card is only $10 through the California Boating and Waterways website. It can all be done online.

While boating season is exciting, the sheriff’s office is also preparing for the worst. They created their own dive team two years ago to streamline the rescue process. They’re also in their fourth year of using an underwater rescue robot.

“We have found in excess 20 victims since we’ve had it. We’ve been extremely successful. That is probably the number one piece of equipment used to find drowning victims,” said Smith.

The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office is also waiting for a brand-new sonar system to arrive. It will be completely underwater, creating a live picture of the river to help with rescues.

Drowning Accident Rescue Team (DART) volunteers share tips on water safety

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.