Preventing accidents on the water

With the weather forecast to be warm and sunny, many people are taking to their boats for some rest and relaxation. However it’s important to remember safety when you’re having fun.

Jeremiah Schwake is the owner of Maxx Rentals in George Wyth state park and a certified paddle sports instructor.

He said boating in groups and communication is important to making that day on the lake go off without a hitch.

“A float plan is always good to tell someone where you’re going and when you’re coming back,” Schwake said, “Leave it in your vehicle if you had to so if somebody wondered why your vehicle is sitting there so long, they know why. Put it in your dash. Where you were, where you’re going, and when you’re supposed to get out there.

Robin Edwards and her daughter took their canoe out for some Friday fun. She said they stay vigilant to keep safe on the water.

“We just try to stay out of the way of the other boaters,” she said, “If they have big wakes going on, we try to avoid that… Get back in the nooks and crannies that the big boats can’t get to.”

If you’re planning on boating, Schwake recommends leaving the alcohol at home.

“It impairs your judgment, your decisions, how you’re going to react to something, how you’re going to think about something,” he said.

In Iowa, boating while intoxicated in a punishable offense, similar to drinking and driving.

He added that all children under the ages of 13 are required by law to wear a life jacket while on the water.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources reports that in 2018 there have been 16 recreational boating incidents so far. Three of those incidents have been fatal.

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