You Otter Watch this video!

A day on the river is certainly exciting!

When you’re visiting the river, you might have a picnic with your family and splash around, sharing water toys with your friends. You might even see a few river otters or a few otter types of critters who make the river their home.

Watching this cartoon will increase your River Safety Smarts. Be sure to test your River Safety Smarts by taking the Quiz for Whiz Kids.

Quiz time! Let’s test your River Safety Smarts!


Public Health – Seattle & King County’s Water Safety webpage is full of important information about staying safe in boats, pools, spas, and rivers. There is also a link to receive 25% coupon for lifejackets at Big 5 Sporting Goods stores.

Seattle Children’s Hospital’s Drowning Prevention and Water Safety webpage has resources for parents, children, and teens including fact sheets, videos, safety tips, lists of pools offering swimming lessons, etc. There is also information for drowning prevention professionals including information for how to join the Washington State Drowning Prevention Network, a forum for idea and information exchange. is an excellent resource for learning more about life jacket laws, types of life jackets, how to fit a life jacket and find a life jacket loaner station.

The Seattle YMCA’s Safety Around Water webpage has safety tips, coloring books, parent education.

Woodland Park Zoo’s Otter Spotter webpage is collecting information about otters and other other wildlife carnivore sightings.

King County’s Water and Land Resources Division has scads of information about river ecology such as this poster and this webpage about the value of wood in our rivers. Here’s a video about river shorelines and webpages about shoreline ecology and riverside vegetation


Meet the Marine Rescue Dive Unit

If you live in King County, you live near a lot of water.

Even if you can’t see it from your house, Puget Sound, Lake Washington, Lake Sammamish and a gazillion rivers, creeks, and streams are not too far away.

Since a lot of us like to play in the water, there is a specially-trained team of rescuers who are always ready to dive in and keep us safe.

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The King County Sheriff’s Office Marine Rescue Unit wants you to know that playing in rivers can be fun, but you should:

  • Learn to swim! If you already know how to swim, practice swimming in shallow water before you reach the deep water
  • Wear your lifejacket even when you are in a boat
  • Be prepared for COLD water

When they get an urgent call for rescue, the Marine Rescue Dive Unit gets to the scene as quickly as they can.

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They have special SCUBA (self-contained underwater breathing apparatus) gear to keep themselves safe in the cold, dark, fast-moving water.

They also use underwater cameras, metal detectors and a remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) equipped with sonar, video and a gabber jaw. Divers can even be lowered into water by helicopter into remote and hard to reach areas.

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Marta is a big fan of the Marine Rescue Dive Unit and dives in whenever there’s an invitation for a boat ride with them.

Otter on the boatQ13 Media Avail2King County Sheriff’s Office Marine Rescue and Dive Unit

Coloring Pages

Not everybody gets to be at the river all the time. For those days when you are not playing on the river, here are a few coloring pages to enjoy.

Meet Marta the River Otter

Marta is a river otter who loves to play! Swimming and splashing, bounding and frolicking, Marta especially likes to glide down slippery mud slopes on her belly into river water.

Although she spends most of her time on land, Marta is a fantastic swimmer thanks to her long, streamlined body, short legs, and webbed toes, and nostrils that can close underwater. Her short thick fur keeps her warm in the chilly river. River otters can grow to 4 feet long, including the tail, and weigh 20 to 30 pounds.

Like all river otters, Marta likes to chow down on fish, crustaceans, amphibians, snakes, water insects, snails, worms, small mammals, birds, eggs, frogs, and even turtles. 

Marta is an exceptional river otter. When they can, Marta and her River Guide Pal Georgie, like to visit classrooms and talk to kids about wearing lifejackets.

Here is a video of Georgie helping Marta put on her lifejacket, because even the best swimmers should wear lifejackets when they play in the river.

Here are a few pictures of Marta’s friends trying on lifejackets: