POLK CITY, Iowa – The Department of Natural Resources is reminding people of boat safety before Memorial Day Weekend.
Before going out on a boat, water patrol officers are reminding people to have a life jacket on board for every person.
Children 12 years and younger are required to wear a life jacket when on an operating boat.
Education Manager for the DNR Susan Stocker said children’s life jackets will have a crotch strap and handle attached on the top of a life jacket to help pull a child to safety if he or she falls in the water.
“In an emergency situation they don’t have the brain function development in order to save themselves, put on a life jacket, buckle it and all of those things. You want to make sure they have it on to start with, but this is to assist if they fall in. A parent, a grandma, an aunt and uncle can grab them with this strap and or make sure they don’t fall out by having the crotch strap,” Stocker said.
Stocker said there are life jackets made for all ages, including toddlers.
Seasonal Water Patrol Officer for Saylorville Lake Greg Hand said it is important people wear a life jacket, even if he or she knows how to swim.
“You never know what’s going to happen if you hit the water. It could be water conditions, water cold, it can give you a shock. It’s dangerous if you fall in. Even if you can swim, things can happen,” Hand said.
In addition, people should have a fire extinguisher when on a boat.
Hand said the water levels are high at the lake, because of the recent storms.
“Make sure that you are paying attention to your surroundings when you are driving. Not all of these are going to be above the water, some will be right below the water so just be careful out there. Make sure you are paying attention to your surroundings when you are driving and looking for that debris,” Hand said.
Hand said the water levels are dropping about a foot each day. There are parts closed off to the public because of the high-water levels.
Check here to see what part of Saylorville Lake is open to the public.