Warning: Rising River Dangerous For Boaters, Paddlers

DES MOINES, Iowa – Two men are recovering after being in an accident over the weekend.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says they were thrown into the Des Moines River in Boone when their personal water crafts hit debris.

With the river rushing and rising, Todd Robertson, the River Program Outreach Coordinator for the DNR says local rivers are full of dangers, and not everyone has been responsible when getting in the water.

“We’ve seen people just filling up tubes. We’ve even had cases of people filling up air mattresses just to get on the water,” said Robertson.

This wouldn’t be recommended if the river was calm and at normal depths.

At a time when logs, branches, and other debris is rushing downstream as fast as 20 miles per hour, Robertson says the river can be deadly.

“Not only are you at the mercy of the water, you’re at the mercy of the debris that comes off the banks as the high water comes along,” Robertson told Channel 13 News.

Until the river levels begin to recede and the current slows, Robertson recommends inexperienced boaters and paddlers find other ways to enjoy the warm summer weather.

“Right now for the next week or two, the message is just to stay off the river. There’s no reason to be out here. If you’re patient and until the water level goes down, you’ll have water in the river at a safe level where you’ll be able to enjoy yourself,” said Robertson.

Not everyone will be able to resist the urge.

If you get into trouble, Robertson recommends ditching your watercraft and floating to safety.

“Get on your back, make sure your toes up, and back paddle your way to one of the banks,” said Robertson.

It could be awhile before the river returns to safe levels. The latest forecast at the Saylorville Lake Reservoir has the river cresting on June 28th at 867.03 feet. That is about twenty feet below reaching the emergency spillway.



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