Officials urge the safety of life jackets while on the water
OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) – Two people had to be rescued from the Chalco Hills Recreation Area on Wednesday in two separate incidents. As the weather warms up, officials want to stress the importance of wearing a life jacket.
“If they fall in the water and can’t swim, the water temperature – or the water temperature right now is very cold – so a life jacket is going to save your life in those conditions. ‘water,” Iowa DNR captain Greg Harson said.
Avid anglers like Rocky Lohman see people giving up life jackets too often.
“Most of the time I don’t see people wearing life jackets, I’ve seen five or six people in three different boats and I haven’t seen anyone else wearing life jackets,” Lohman said. .
In Nebraska and Iowa, anyone over the age of 13 is not legally required to wear a life jacket, but it must be on board, within reach, and easily accessible. Children 12 and under must wear a life jacket at all times, and adults in their company may receive a citation if children are found without a life jacket.
On Wednesday evening, a 27-year-old man drowned at Lake Wehrspann. The Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office confirmed he was not wearing a life jacket.
Dawn Brindisi runs Select Sail & Sports and explains why some people choose not to wear one.
“I think comfort would be the number one reason they feel awkward or bulky,” Brindisi said.
Brindisi says that to make a jacket less bulky, it’s important to go to the store, try one on, and make adjustments as you go. Also, be sure to choose a jacket that is suitable for the activity.
“For kayaks, you usually have a chair that you sit against. Find one with a low back and a very adjustable and open waist, or if it’s a paddle/kayak that’s open for arms so you have freedom of movement,” says Brindisi.
It is a decision that could determine life or death.
“I don’t think I like the idea of drowning out there and if the wind is blowing and you fall off the boat the boat is going to blow away from you in the wind and it can move faster than I can’t swim now,” Loman said.
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