Staying safe on the mountain rivers

DETROIT LAKE, Ore. -- The safety advice is always simple: don't swim alone, don't swim without a life jacket, don't swim in waters that could be beyond your skill level.

So why do people keep getting hurt or -- worse -- drowning in Oregon's swimming holes?

Because they can seem like a swimming pool located in the middle of natural beauty.

Take the swimming holes at Three Pools, about an hour east of Salem near Detroit Lake, Ore.

Jagged rocks surround the river as if they were designed for jumping.

The water has this magnificent clarity that makes it look the way it feels: perfectly cool and crisp on a hot day.

But don't forget that a swimming hole is not a swimming pool. Rivers are wild and unpredictable with strong currents and dangerous rocks.

The currents can often be hidden underwater in deep swirling pockets most swimmers won't be prepared to fight.

Your local swimming pool doesn't have anything even close to that -- which is why it may be much less scenic, and much more safe.