Stay Safe

By: Amy Gleason
By: Amy Gleason

The water may look calm, but mix the wrong things and it can be deadly.

"A lot of people don't understand that when you mix the heat and the sun and the floating on the river," said Cara Sottosani Shenandoah River Outfitters. "It really does triple your alcohol content. People don't understand."

Cara Sottosani runs Shenandoah River Outfitters. She says she warns river bound canoers and tubers about the dangers of alcohol, but she says with the number of people that pass through each day, some people slip through.

"You can't stop it. If we catch them with it here, we tell them they can't take it," added Sottosani.

Alcohol isn't the only problem.

When you have a holiday like the fourth, lots of inexperienced canoers hit the river.

"We have a lot of people just wanting to have a good time. A lot of people who don't understand the river. A lot of people who have never been on a river before," said Sottosani.

If you are one of those people and plan to head out, keep these tips in mind: Don't dive in the water. Don't wear heavy clothes or shoes, and don't forget to wear your life jacket.

Even with all the other risks, there's one that still keeps the outfitter worried.

"Alcohol," said Sottosani. "It will intoxicate you and it's a good idea to leave it at home and save it for after the river."

According to the Rockingham County Sheriff's Department, all alcohol use on the water is illegal, but besides a possible fine, your life is really what's at risk.


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