Iowa DNR stresses water safety tips following five recent drownings

Published: Jun. 10, 2020 at 12:24 PM CDT
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The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is urging caution and safety across the state's waterways.

Over a three-day period, between Saturday and Monday, Iowa DNR has responded to five drowning fatalities.

According to the release, initial reports suggest there were no life-jackets in use at the time of the drownings.

DNR has provided the following safety tips:

Boating safety

• Wear your life jacket, it floats, you don’t! Any children 12 and under must wear a lifejacket at all times on a vessel underway in Iowa.

• Every boat or vessel must have a wearable life jacket for everyone on board; a USCG approved throw-able flotation device is also required on vessels 16’ or longer.

• Alcohol and boating don’t mix. Wind, sun glare and heat can enhance the effects of alcohol, hindering the operator’s ability to make necessary decisions.

• The same limit of .08 for operating a vehicle under the influence applies to boating.

• Always have a designated operator that avoids consuming alcohol.

• Make sure there is a charged fire extinguisher on board, as well as a horn/whistle.

• Slow down and watch for other boaters or personal watercraft, have patience.

• Avoid dams and other hazards on waterways.

• Obey all posted warning signs and rules.

• Drain plugs and other water draining devices must be removed and/or remain open during transport to avoid spreading of invasive species.

Swimming and beach safety

• Stay within the roped in area.

• Swim with a buddy.

• Obey posted signs and flags.

• Wear a life jacket or some kind of personal flotation device if needed.

• Use sunscreen and drink plenty of water as needed.

• Iowa’s public beaches do not have lifeguards on duty.

Paddling safety

• Always wear your life jacket. Kids 12 and under must wear a life jacket at all times. The vessel must have enough life jackets for all members on board.

• Let others know where you will be paddling, including what access to what access, and when you are expected to return.

• Avoid sandbar crowds and “rafting” up together. Tubers are reminded not to go in groups larger than 10 and don’t tie tubes to one another.

• Always know your river conditions before you go paddling. For the latest river conditions,

• Check the

for updates on real-time hazards like downed trees and log jams, strainers, and bridge construction. Pay attention to the dam warning signs and know where dams are located before you head out on the water.

• Find individual

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