After two recent drownings, rescue squad workers remind people of boating dangers

Fast moving waters can be an unwelcome sight for even the most experienced boater.  “It’s tremendously powerful,” Alan Schwenk told Local 6.

He’s an avid canoer in Indiana.  He’s visiting family in west Kentucky. He said wearing a life vest is a no-brainer, even when the water is calm.

“I always have a life vest with me and try to wear it whenever possible.  I think that it really increases your chances of being found,” he said.  However, Marshall County Rescue Squad Chief Curt Curter said from experience, more times than not, people forgo the life jacket and in the case in southern Illinois, having one on could have made a difference.

“All the drownings, recoveries we’ve been involved in, I would comfortably say 75 percent could have been prevented by the use of a life vest,” Curtner said.

Wearing a life jacket is especially important, Curtner said, in the winter because people can become disoriented after falling into the cold water.  “We still have a lot of duck hunters and a lot of fisherman, die-hard fisherman are out there every day of the year,” Curtner said.  

For people like Schwenk, who enjoys looking at the water, it is always better to play it safe should you find yourself in an emergency.  “I certainly agree that life vests increase your chance of living through it,” he said.

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