Training alongside water rescue crews in Lake Stevens

Water rescue crews spent hours at Lake Stevens Tuesday morning deploying divers, drones, and speed boats in a series of exercises.

Last year, three people drowned in Lake Stevens.

Snohomish Regional Fire & Rescue, the Snohomish County’s Sherriff’s Office and the Lake Stevens Police Department took part in these precautionary trainings.

Using Davies Beach as their home base they practiced what to do if a swimmer disappears or a boat tips over.

Swiftwater Rescue Coordinator, Jamal Beckham says each agency has different capabilities so it is important they train alongside for worst-case scenarios.

“All the people responding had no idea what they were coming into,” said Beckham. “We tried to make it as real as possible.”

Peter Mongillo with Snohomish Fire & Rescues says this training is inspired by past tragedies.

Organizers deliberately selected Davies Beach because back in June of 2022, two children drowned there.

“There were hundreds of people here and when our crews arrived it was difficult for them to get to and identify the victim when there’s just chaos,” said Mongillo. “Some of the water rescue swimmers that were there that tragic day in June are here today training again.”

Peter further highlighted the deceptive nature of the water’s temperature.

He wants swimmers to remember, it’s still early season and while the surface might feel comfortable, just a few feet below, the water remains comparable to temperatures during late winter.

“If you dip your toe in you might get a little shiver,” said Mongillo. “You throw your whole body in and you’ll feel how cold it is and how bitter it is.”

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