Boating Safety Tips Prove To Be True Life Savers

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- The Kansas Department of Parks Wildlife and Tourism responded to two drownings over the holiday weekend along with several other dangerously close calls and they say most of them could have been prevented.

As the temperatures rise, so does activity on Kansas lakes, but Milford Lake and Hillsdale Lake both saw men lose their lives, when they went into the water to retrieve a lost item.

Spokesman for the KDPWT, Ron Kaufman said "Nothing is as important as your life and certainly not important enough to go in for without a vest on. Stay in the boat. A lake is not a swimming pool, the conditions are much different. The water is colder, there are currents, wind, and underwater hazards. It's just not a good thing to do."

Brad McCaleb and his family were out for some Jet-Ski fun at Lake Shawnee when the life jackets proved their worth. "We fell off a couple of times. My niece was scared at first but she had a life jacket on and just floated," said McCaleb

Kaufman says the decision to put on a life vest is a simple one, but time after time, tragedies have shown that some boaters are not taking heed to that lesson.

"Over the past 5 years, I think out of the 28 deaths on the water, only 4 had their life vests on. It's of little consolation to the victims and families to say if only they wore a life jacket. It's a simple decision to make and they are easy to wear, and it's good insurance," said Kaufman.

McCaleb said, "You never can be too safe. In one moment you can drown and lose your life. It's just not worth it.

In addition to the two fatalities over memorial day weekend, Game Wardens responded to 10 search and rescue incidents,17 stranded boats and handed out 113 boating violation citations.