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Strainers are common on rivers and streams in Pennsylvania. They can be deadly obstacles on a river or stream like the one in this photo. Water passes through but solid objects like boats or people do not, similar to a kitchen strainer used to drain spaghetti or clean vegetables. A tree or fallen branch is the most common type.
A paddler lost her life when she was washed into the strainer shown in the photo above. She was wearing a life jacket but because she was trapped underwater against the tree by tons of water pressure, it did not save her life.

Avoid strainers by knowing the waters you plan to boat. Scout ahead whenever possible. Never try to go through a strainer and give it as much room as possible. If you find yourself being forced into a strainer that cannot be avoided, swim aggressively toward it and get on top of it, or go over the top to safety on the other side. Never boat alone.

Remember: Safety on our rivers and streams depends on developing a respect for the power of water.

Hazards on the Water -- PFBC Home

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