STATE WIDE–Going out on the lake or the river may be some of the best ways to enjoy the heat, or maybe even to beat the heat. If you’re not safe, it can also be a way to end your life or someone else’s. Your actions on the water could make the difference, says Capt. Jet Quillen, with Indiana’s Dept. of Natural Resources Law Enforcement on Indiana Outdoors radio.
“I think the last thing that’s going through someone’s mind when they go out on a boat or to enjoy the water that something bad’s gonna happen or someone’s gonna drown. But, unfortunately, we see it,” said Quillen.
He said that even if you know you’re a good swimmer, taking precautions and having safety on the top of your mind is the best way to operate.
“I’ve done this job for many years and I’ve recovered many drowning victims and investigated many drownings and it’s not uncommon for someone to say, oh they were a good swimmer. We don’t know what happened.”
Quillen’s advice is to wear a life jacket, even if you know your stuff on the water.
“Life jackets have been developed and have come a long way from the old style that were bulky and hot and uncomfortable to wear,” he said. “Now they are more streamlined. They’re lighter. They’re cooler.” Quillen said that if you wear a lifejacket, your swimming ability, or lack thereof, doesn’t have to be a factor.
Quillen saiud another common factor in boating or water accidents is alcohol. He said if you’re going to operate a boat, don’t drink.
“The heat and the sun are gonna magnify the effects of that alcohol in your system,” he said. “Alcohol delays your response time. It delays your reaction to certain things.”
Quillen said that with any endeavor, you should educate yourself on the potential dangers.
“We don’t want to go out and issue citations and arrest people for operating while intoxicated. That’s the last thing we want to do. Great weekends for us is when we go out and everybody’s safe and we have no drownings and no accidents.”