Safety measures being taken at Dam 52

After four boaters lost their lives on the Ohio River over the weekend, safety measures are being taken.

The boat capsized on Dam 52 near Brookport, Illinois. Emma Strawser and Frank Rosario died Friday night. Xavier Lopez’s and Tina Rodriguez’s bodies were found Sunday. Two others survived.

Managing a lock and dam isn’t easy, especially when boat accidents happen on the dam. 

The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers manages Dam 52. Spokesman Todd Hornback says the corp is now taking safety measures to prevent this from happening again. 

"This was a horrific loss, and we just don’t want to see that," Hornback said.

Right now, you can see only one sign on the water alerting boaters the dam is there. The Corp of Engineers is planning to put more signs on the bridge above the dam and the pier. 

"We’ve added lighting to our signage,’ Hornback added.

The Corp of Engineers is also trying to get more bright red buoys out on the water to alert boaters.

"Lock and Dam 52 is a low-profile lock and dam. What looks like a continuation of the river may actually be a drop off," Hornback said.

The Coast Guard manages the rivers in the area. Lt. Takila Powell says boaters can also take measures to prevent accidents.

"The river is a constantly changing environment. There are charts to plan out you’re trip," Powell said.

She says it’s important that anyone who goes out on the water anywhere take the proper precautions to prevent another tragedy. 

"It’s very important because you’re not only protecting yourself, but the people who are on your vessel with you," Powell said.

Both the Corp of Engineers and the Coast Guard ask all boaters to wear life jackets. They also advise taking boating courses. The Coast Guard says anyone with questions can contact its local office any time at 270-442-1621. The Coast Guard also has a phone app that gives you information on the waterways. 

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