A statement from the Merced Sheriff's Department:
Because of recent activity and as a safety precaution, the Merced County Sheriff's Office will be patrolling the Merced River in Snelling this Fourth of July weekend educating people on the dangers of going into the river and encouraging them to find alternative means of entertainment. With last night's river rescue, it demonstrates how unpredictable and dangerous cold swift-moving water can be, even to well-trained personnel. Most people are not prepared or equipped to handle river rafting in the Merced River and should avoid it. When people who are not trained or equipped to go river rafting, it puts rescue personnel at risk when they have to enter the water to save them. If you are not a strong swimmer or have children near by, water ways are an extremely dangerous place to spend the holiday. If you plan on spending the holiday near water, make sure you have the proper safety equipment; if you have children they should have your undivided attention when near water whether it be a lake or pool. As for the Merced River, people should avoid trying to raft or swim in it since the water is high and moving very fast this time a year. It is also cold and can drain your strength increasing the risk of drowning. The Merced Sheriff's Office would like everyone to have a great holiday weekend by partaking in safe activities.