Water Safety

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Like many public parks in rural areas all over the country, Henry Hagg Lake is a working reservoir with numerous opportunities for recreation, as well as inherent dangers common to these settings. Swimming in a reservoir is different from swimming in a pool.  More skills and energy are required for natural water environments; therefore, visitors who plan to be in the water are urged to understand the risks involved, practice water safety, and know how to respond in the event of a water emergency. 


  • Become trained to respond to aquatic and other emergencies by taking Red Cross first aid, CPR and water safety courses.

  • Know the swimming abilities of those going with you. Plan ahead for appropriate supervision and access to personal flotation devices (PFDs.) If needed, PFDs may be borrowed from loaner station kiosks in several locations around the lake. Please refer to our park map legend for specific locations. PFDs are available for day use and must be returned to the kiosks before the park closes for the night.

  • Be aware of possible hazards. Things to watch out for in a natural body of water are sudden drop-offs, rocks and plants under the water, boats and fishing lines, and even other swimmers.

  • Have a plan for when and where to find help in an emergency. Check to see if you have cell coverage ahead of time in case you need to dial 9-1-1. Aid is also available at the Ranger Station.

  • Identify your recreation spot on the park map for future reference, just in case you need to describe your location to emergency responders.

  • Set safety guidelines for the whole family and review prior to arriving at the lake.


  • Keep children under constant supervision and avoid distractions. Make sure that inexperienced swimmers stay within arm's reach.

  • Only use a U.S. Coast Guard-approved PFD to keep children safe.  Adults must ensure that children wear properly sized PFDs, regardless of swimming ability.

  • Ask for a "Swim Watch" wrist band at the park entrance to help monitor children.  Each band contains a whistle which can be used to alert others in case you need emergency assistance.

  • Do not rely upon water wings or inflatable toys; they can enable swimmers to go beyond their ability or suddenly deflate and lead to a drowning situation.

  • Even adults should always swim with a buddy.

  • Always enter unknown or shallow water cautiously, feet first.

  • Do not enter water from a height, such as a tree, ledge or bridge.

  • Do not use alcohol or other drugs before or while swimming or supervising swimmers.

  • Follow the safety messages on all warning signs posted at the lake.

  • Review safety guidelines with everyone in your group. Talk about how you will handle various possible emergencies.

  • Consider professional swim lessons for the whole family. These are offered frequently through various parks and recreation departments and districts in Washington County.

For more information regarding swimming safety, please consult the following resources.

Hagg Lake and Scoggins Valley Park are owned by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and maintained for public use by Washington County Parks since the mid 1970's. We are committed to providing a safe and fun experience for all visitors but remind those who choose to swim in the lake, or take part in any type of water activities, that they do so at their own risk.

Life jacket check