DELAWARE WATER GAP, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Now with Summer in full swing, many are heading to the Delaware River to cool off.
The Delaware Water Gap had more than 4.3 million visitors just in 2021, according to the National Park Service.
Those numbers spike with guests during the summer months, as many swim in the Delaware River or cruise down in canoes and kayaks.
But the outdoor activity could be dangerous and one local business says safety has always been its top priority.
“River safety is all about one thing and that’s a properly-fitted life jacket. So of course you want to have that thing on when you’re boating, but most importantly you want to wear it when you’re swimming,” said Chuck Cooper the co-owner of Edge of the Woods Outfitters.
According to the CDC, an average of 11 drowning deaths take place each day. At the Edge of the Woods Outfitters, it’s mandatory to buckle up.
Customers at the shop Wednesday grabbed their life jackets and were briefed on unexpected situations you could run into while in the river, such as a downed tree.
“I mean you always want to be aware of your surroundings no matter what and you want to be aware of the water speed under you. I mean it hasn’t rained too hard as of late, so I’m going to know more about it when I get out there and how you’re going to handle it,” said Frank Ricchelli of Lancaster.
Derek Weir geared up for kayaking to go fishing on the river with his family he says safety isn’t something that should be taken lightly.
“Never go alone, you know, if you’re going to go swimming or whatever just make sure that people know where you are and if you’re going to go swimming, swim with other people and don’t do anything beyond your limits,” added Derek Weir of Delaware Water Gap.
Following the recent death of a swimmer in the Delaware River, the National Park Service also reminds the public to wear a life jacket and to stay safe.