Summer Water Safety at Hagg Lake

For Immediate Release: Thursday, June 25, 2015

Sponsored by: Support Services Department

Scoggins Valley Park at Henry Hagg Lake is a favorite destination all summer long but especially during hot weather. This week, as temperatures begin to climb and visitors head out to the lake to cool off, everyone is urged to make safety their top priority. The following tips can help to plan ahead for possible risks, focus on water safety, and prepare for water emergencies.

Plan Ahead for Possible Risks

  • Know the swimming abilities of those in your group. Plan ahead for appropriate supervision and access to personal flotation devices (PFDs.) If needed, PFDs may be borrowed from loaner station kiosks in several locations around the lake. PFDs are available for day use and must be returned to the kiosks before the park closes for the night.
  • Be aware of possible hazards like sudden drop-offs, rocks and plants under the surface, boats and fishing lines, and possibly even other swimmers.
  • Have a plan for when and where to find help in an emergency. Check to see if you have cell coverage ahead of time in case you need to dial 9-1-1. Aid is also available at the Ranger Station.
  • Identify your recreation spot on the park map for future reference, just in case you need to describe your location to emergency responders.
  • Set safety guidelines for the whole family and review prior to arriving at the lake.

Safe Practices

  • Keep children under constant supervision and avoid distractions. Make sure that inexperienced swimmers stay within arm's reach.
  • Wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal floatation devices. Adults must ensure that children wear properly sized PFDs, regardless of swimming ability.
  • PFDs are required by Oregon law to be readily available for all passengers in boats and worn by everyone 12 and under, at all times when the boat is underway. Persons being towed are required to wear a PFD at all times while towed, regardless of age. 
  • Ask for a "Swim Watch" wrist band at the park entrance to help monitor children. Each band contains instructions and a whistle which can be used to alert others in case you need emergency assistance.
  • Do not rely upon water wings or inflatable toys; they can enable swimmers to go beyond their ability and suddenly deflate which can lead to a drowning situation.
  • Follow the safety messages on all warning signs posted at the lake.
  • Check for a nearby PFD loaner station kiosk and take note of the emergency throw ring provided there.

Responding to Emergencies

  • If a child is missing, always check the water first! Seconds count in preventing death or disability from drowning.
  • If someone is in trouble in the water, reach out to that person using any nearby object that will extend your reach. This could be an oar, tree branch or even a belt or towel. If available, use the emergency throw ring stored at a nearby PFD loaner station kiosk.
  • Keep yourself safe. In most cases, only trained professionals should enter the water to perform a rescue.

For a more information about water safety at Hagg Lake, go to

For more information regarding swimming safety, please consult the following resources.

Additionally, Park Superintendent Todd Winter would like to remind visitors that the volunteer PFD loaner program is donation-based and aspires to keep everyone safe when recreating in, or near the water at Hagg Lake. Said Winter, "We want to have vests available when visitors need them, so use them, and then please return them to the kiosks or the Ranger Station before leaving the park."

Henry Hagg Lake and Scoggins Valley Park are owned by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and maintained for public use by Washington County Facilities and Parks Services. We are committed to providing a safe and fun experience for all visitors and ask the public to also take responsibility for their own safety which includes becoming prepared for water emergencies.




Media Contact:

Todd Winter, Parks Superintendent