Dept. of Wildlife Resources warns of potentially deadly boating conditions following rain

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Updated: Jun. 11, 2021 at 5:39 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources is warning boaters to use extreme caution over the weekend as all of the rain has created potentially deadly conditions out on the water.

DWR Conservation Police Officers have responded to several boating incidents that resulted in deaths and injuries after boaters tried to go through waters that were impacted by heavy rains “creating significantly higher than normal water levels, dangerously swift current and trash and other debris that could be floating on the surface or just below the waterline.”

“As stewards of safe boating in Virginia, we ask that you check for rising and flooded waters before launching, and to give the proper attention to safety warnings,” said Colonel John Cobb, Chief of DWR Conservation Police. “Those who attempt to boat in dangerous conditions put their own lives in jeopardy, as well as CPOs and other first responders who have to rescue them.”

DWR gave the following recommendations to recreation boaters who choose to launch:

  • We strongly urge you to think before you go. Always check local river conditions. A resource for this is the American Whitewater website:
  • Check your local forecast. Pop-up storms can cause flash flooding and water levels can change drastically and quickly.
  • Check the River and Lake conditions with the National Weather Service (Wakefield office:; Blacksburg office:
  • Be aware that it is possible that high water will force the temporary closing of some boat ramps.
  • Have a good plan and share your plan with someone who knows where you will be and when to expect you to return.
  • Finally, make sure you have the proper equipment onboard and that you wear a properly sized and fitted life jacket. Remember that life jackets do save lives!

For more information, click here.

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