Tahoe Chief’s Corner: Swim smart and safe in chilly Lake Tahoe | SierraSun.com

Tahoe Chief’s Corner: Swim smart and safe in chilly Lake Tahoe

As the weather warms up and days get longer offering us all the opportunity to recreate outdoors at our beaches and on the lake, it’s a good time to be prepared before taking a dip into the cold waters of Lake Tahoe.

We would like to remind folks to swim smart and safe and educate themselves regarding the dangers of Lake Tahoe’s cold water temperatures.

Whether boating, Jet Skiing, kayaking, rafting, paddleboarding or swimming, it’s prudent to inform yourself about the colder temperatures of Lake Tahoe and how it can affect you.

Currently, the water temperature is 55.8 degrees, as measured at the mid lake buoys. As the winter run off melts and makes its way to the lake, the water temperatures will slowly increase to an average range of 65-70 degrees August through September.

Lake Tahoe is the second deepest lake in the United States; because of this, the temperatures remain lower than most lakes in our region year round.

We respond to numerous water emergencies on the lake not just during the summer months but throughout the year. We encourage everyone to please review the following safety precautions before recreating on Lake Tahoe.


Wear a life jacket and know your swimming limitations.

Enter the water slowly.

Feet first, first time.

Never swim alone.

Respect the dangers of cold water.

Check the weather for wind conditions at weather.gov.

File a ‘float plan’ before boating and leave with a friend or loved ones.


Cold Water Shock: Can cause a powerful gasp reflex when entering the water.

Swim Failure: You only have a few minutes of strength in your arms and legs for self-rescue.

Hypothermia: Cold water accelerates the progression of hypothermia since body heat is lost 25 times faster in cold water than cold air.

Drowning: Can happen to anyone, even good swimmers.

Please swim smart and safe, know the dangers of cold water. Educate yourself and wear a life jacket anytime you’re in the water — it can save your life.

For more information, listen to a water safety podcast by visiting http://www.nevadawild.org.

“Chief’s Corner” is a regular feature from North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District Interim Chief Ryan Sommers, offering information, tips and education material on fire safety, emergency preparedness and other pertinent topics.

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