For Chico State students, floating down the Sacramento River, Labor Day weekend, has become an annual tradition. Crowds Sunday reached between 10 to 15-thousand floaters. Every year, attracting more and more out-of-towners.
Christina DeMarinis, a tuber from Danville says, "I just came up for the float.. I have some friends here that go to Chico." Manchester, England tuber Marquis Caldwell says, "My friend goes to school here and tells me it's a good time.. So I'm like, get rowdy." And getting rowdy is exactly what the collaboration of 10 public safety agencies try to prevent..
Officers are stationed at the float launch, in Glenn County's Irvine Finch Park, and the exiting point, at Scotty's Landing in Butte County.. And on all the water in between.
Glenn County Sheriff's Lt. Richard Warren says, "We have well over 150 staff out here between police and fire to help manage the situation and keep people safe." but officers have other factors besides the large crowds that could hinder a safe float. River water is 58-degrees.. About 8 degrees colder than normal. And the river's flow is nearly double it's normal speed. With plenty of snags.
Lt. Warren says, "The river is flowing pretty quick this year.. A little more than normal due to the release of water from the diversion dam." Sgt. Kirk Coon from California State Parks says, "We anticipate a lot of rescues today.. A lot of hypothermia issues."
And students say they welcome all the law enforcement. "They're watching out for people who may be way too drunk, and they can help them out. I feel more safe with them here," says DeMarinis.
Brandon Fink, Tuber from Oakley says, "Some people will get too drunk and fall off their raft.." Caldwell says, "The police here have guns so.. I'm sure it's going to be a little more relaxed.. Mind their p's and q's.."
Because, at the end of the day, the 165 public safety officers and 10-thousand floaters, really do have the same goal. Fink says, "Everyone just be safe and have fun."