CLACKAMAS COUNTY, Ore. - Exactly one year ago this weekend, divers pulled the body of a 26-year-old woman out of the Clackamas River near the Carver boat ramp.
She was not wearing a life vest when she jumped off her raft and drowned in a dangerous underwater whirlpool that looked calm on the surface.
A year later, the five-mile trip from the boat launch at Barton Park to Carver is still one of the most popular on the Clackamas for families, teenagers, college students, grown-ups, and people of all ages.
They float along in just about anything that won't sink: inner-tubes, rafts, air mattresses, inflatable castles, and giant contraptions that can hold six people.
At the boat ramp, Clackamas County Sheriff's deputy Mark Nikolai patrols the crowds for alcohol and life vests.
Most people do not have life vests -- and that's completely legal.
Oregon Law only requires boaters with official vessels to carry a life vest, says Nikolai.
The floating contraptions like inner-tubes and air mattresses are technically pool toys and not covered by the life vest requirement.
In some cases, inflatable rafts look identical except for a small identification number printed on the plastic. That number designates it as an official watercraft subject to Oregon's maritime laws.
"I think everyone should have a life vest," said Nikolai. "Under current law that's not a requirement."