Temperatures may beckon swimmers to the Truckee River

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - You see the signs warning people about the dangers of the Truckee River.

With the current temperature and water flow many of us would just stay away. But for 17-year-old Sheldon Martin and 18-year-old Gage Millard, the heat made them do it.

Martin says the temperature did not knock the wind out of him.

“Not too bad, not too bad, I didn't go all the way out to the middle,” says Martin.

“As soon as you touch it’s like ooooh. It's just really cold,” says Millard.

Both say the river is as cold and swift as it looks.

Still we saw families with small kids get in and take their chances. Any farther out and the current could easily pick a body up and take it down river.

The question is, where is the drop-off point? That's not so easy to estimate, especially if you are nine years old.

"I am a member of the swift water rescue team for Reno Fire Department. We are stationed all over the city,” Reno Fireman Anthony Marvel tells us.

Station 1 will be one of the firsts posts to respond to a river rescue downtown. Marvel says while the fire department isn't telling people to stay away from the river, with higher water levels and faster currents than in recent memory, extra precautions need to be taken.

“Encourage people who are going to recreate in the river to have a proper boat, proper life-saving device, PFD, wearing equipment that will keep you protected from the cold water. We wear insulation over our water suits to keep us dry from the water, and we are always wearing a life jacket and always wearing a helmet and proper shoes,” says Marvel.

Marvel says with just a bathing suit, a swimmer would theoretically have little chance of survival if taken away with the current. The same could be said for a dog that just goes a little too far from shore.

He and others are trained to make river rescues, and they expect that training to be put to the tests more than once over the next several days.