The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department and the New Hampshire State Police Marine Patrol Division are urging residents and visitors to exercise extreme caution while swimming in, or recreating around, any of the Granite State’s many waterbodies. Large rivers such as the Merrimack River present unique hazards for bathers including steep drop-offs and dangerous currents which makes these types of moving waters inappropriate for novice swimmers.
With municipal pools and public beaches limiting capacity to facilitate social distancing during the COVID-19 public health emergency, many people are seeking relief from the summer heat in more remote swimming locations which are not monitored by lifeguards.
“Swimming, like any other form of outdoor recreation, has the potential to be life-threatening for people who are unprepared or do not have a deep respect for the power of flowing water. Rivers like the Merrimack are as unpredictable as they are beautiful, and all swimmers must be responsible and know their own capabilities and physical limitations,” said Fish and Game Law Enforcement Chief Colonel Kevin Jordan. “Always tell someone where you will be swimming, when you will return, and never swim alone”
“With a little extra planning, communication, approved life jackets and PFDs, and respect for the power that all New Hampshire waterbodies’ possess, outdoor enthusiasts will be better prepared to more safely enjoy the recreational opportunities of the Merrimack River this summer,” said Captain Tim Dunleavy of the New Hampshire State Police Marine Patrol Division.
Colonel Jordan and Captain Dunleavy strongly recommend that anyone recreating in, on, or along any of New Hampshire’s waterbodies should:
- Always wear a personal flotation device (PFD) whether recreating from a boat, along shore, or in the water.
- Know where you will be swimming and the name of the area you will be in.
- Always tell someone where you are going and when you will return.
- Never swim alone, always bring a friend.
- Research new swimming spots thoroughly including known drop-offs and currents.