As we get into warmer and warmer weather, many of us will partake in one of Richmond’s favorite pastimes: Enjoying the James River. For many of us, that means enjoying being in the James River. Whether kayaking, relaxing in a tube, wading, or swimming, when you enter the James, you need to be aware that it’s not a water park. There are no lifeguards. It’s a swift-moving river, full of currents, eddies, and rapids – some of them dangerous!

Each year (it seems) someone finds themselves in distress in the James, and people have drowned. That happened yesterday, May 2nd.

Greg Velzy, Outdoor Adventure Programmer for the Chesterfield Department of Parks & Recreation, shared a video with us where he talks about the dangers and dynamics of a popular kayaking spot: “Z Dam.” This is just upriver from Pony Pasture, is alone responsible for many drownings, and is a feature commonly referred to as a “Drowning Machine.”

Watch his video below, and be certain to exercise caution while enjoying the James River!