Radio Report: Rep. Peter Abbarno prefiles ‘Zack’s Law’ to provide cold-water shock warning signs


A bill prefiled for the coming 2023 legislative session seeks to prevent cold-water shock drownings in Washington state. John Sattgast reports from the state Capitol.

 Radio Report Transcript

SATTGAST: Even on a hot summer day, public health officials say Washington waters are often chilly enough to cause cold-water shock. It’s what happened to 18-year-old Zachary Rager, an experienced swimmer, who jumped into the Chehalis River on a warm spring day nearly two years ago, hit the cold water and drowned. Representative Peter Abbarno of Centralia says it’s a hidden danger that’s preventable.

ABBARNO: “Unfortunately, even before and after what happened to Zack, you’re seeing cold-water shock drownings all over the state of Washington. They’re more common than you think about. And there’s a way to help inform individuals of the danger of cold-water shock.”

SATTGAST: Abbarno has prefiled House Bill 1004, also known as “Zack’s Law.” The measure would require signs to be erected on or near bridges and waterways to warn people of cold-water shock risks.

The original bill passed the House Transportation Committee unanimously during the last session, but never reached the House floor for a vote.

The legislative session begins January 9th. John Sattgast, the state Capitol.

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