Unfortunately, 2017 is looking like it might become a record year for the number of deaths and accidents that have occurred at the various waterfalls in North and South Carolina. While it is difficult to get an exact number, quick research shows that there have been at least six deaths this year along with several other accidents. This is six deaths too many and we don’t want to hear about any further accidents. In lieu of the statistics, we thought it would be a good idea to post some safety tips in an effort to help keep people safe:
1. Know the potential dangers of waterfalls.
This may sound somewhat obvious but sometimes the obvious needs to be stated. Especially when you consider the number of people that have died this year on waterfalls in the Carolina’s. It is important to know and recognize that waterfalls can be hazardous and people have died while visiting them. Waterfalls are a beautiful natural resource that should be enjoyed and everyone who visits needs to return home safely and come back often to enjoy them.
2. Stay on the trail and inside marked areas.
Most waterfall accidents occur when people are off the trail or outside the recommended viewing areas. Since most waterfalls are near cliffs, getting off the trail is never a good idea and only increases the odds of something terrible happening. Stay on the trail!
3. Never enter the creek or stream above a waterfall.
Some trails may lead to a crossing above a waterfall and even parallel the creek or river above the falls. While sometimes these trails are necessary to complete a hike or reach a specific waterfall, it’s good to develop a healthy fear of and respect for the water. Any surface that is wet is going to be extremely slippery and a slight slip here could put you in the water in an instant. Flowing water is also deceivingly strong.
4. Never climb on waterfalls.
Another obvious safety tip that needs to be stated. Just don’t do it.
5. Don’t jump off a waterfall
A lot of waterfalls have large and deep swimming holes at the base of the falls which you may be able to enjoy safely. However, it is never a good idea to jump off a waterfall into the pool below. Conditions under the water, especially under a waterfall, can change and the deep pool that you jumped into last year might not be so deep this year. As tempting as it might be this is another one of those “just don’t do it” suggestions.
The final and most obvious suggestion is that if it doesn’t feel safe, don’t do it. Make it a point to return safely from each adventure that you take so you can plan more adventures. You owe it to yourself and those who care about you and count on you to put safety first.