Buchanan business promoting safety ahead of Memorial Day weekend on the river

Drowning deaths up across U.S. ahead of busy Memorial Day weekend

BUCHANAN, Va. – Memorial Day weekend is here. But as families get ready to soak up the sun, experts are issuing a warning: drownings are on the rise.

Robert Duff is gearing up for a busy weekend on the James River. He’s the general manager at Twin River Outfitters in Buchanan. This Memorial Day weekend, they’re expecting 300 guests.

“It’s a huge weekend for us,” said Duff. “We’ve got a lot of trips: tubing trips, day trips, multi-day trips planned for this weekend.”

Daniel Grau drove from in from the Philadelphia area for a three-day, two-night kayaking trip.

“I love getting on the river,” said Grau. “It really kind of slows down the pace of life and it’s a great way to relax.”

But first, his day started in the classroom. Twin River staff go over maps of the James River, rapids to be aware of, and safety guidelines.

“We also talk about the importance of wearing the personal floatation device, the PFD, the life jacket as many people refer to it,” said Duff.

The most important thing is to have a properly-fitting life jacket. It should fit snugly around your torso and chest, without being able to rise up above your chin.

“Safety is a very important part of what we do,” said Duff.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drowning is the number one cause of death for children 1-4 years old in the United States. For people 15 and older, almost half of deadly drownings happen in natural waters like rivers, lakes or oceans.

The U.S. Coast Guard reported 658 boating-related deaths in 2021—81% died by drowning; 83% of the people who drowned were not wearing life jackets.

“Wear your PFD. Wear your PFD. Wear your PFD,” said Duff.

About the Author

You can watch Lindsey during Virginia Today every weekend or as a reporter during the week!

Recommended Videos