MO police urge safety after 10 drownings in June - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

MO police urge safety after 10 drownings in June

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JEFFERSON CITY, MO (KAIT) – The month of June has been a deadly one on Missouri waters.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, there have been 10 drowning deaths this month already.

With the Fourth of July holiday little more than a week away, MSHP is urging everyone to make safety a top priority as they head to the lakes and rivers.

The patrol encourages swimmers and boaters to be aware of currents, aquatic life, drop-offs and floating debris at all times.

They also say everyone needs a swimming buddy, even adults.

The patrol also urges swimmers and boaters to not drink alcoholic beverages.

When it comes to floating, MSHP also offers these tips:

  • Wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket at all times. Even gentle stretches of water can have unseen undercurrents. Trying to fight a swift current will exhaust swimmers of every ability. 
  • Use sunscreen, and wear a hat and sunglasses to protect you from the sun.
  • Wear water shoes. If your canoe/kayak/inner tube capsizes, they will protect your feet. Walking in rivers can be dangerous.
  • No one may have or use glass containers in any vessel that is easily susceptible to swamping, tipping, or rolling.
  • Scout the river section you intend to float. Be familiar with the river and its individual characteristics. Make a rescue plan if necessary. Pair an experienced paddler/floater with someone of less experience.
  • Learn to recognize river hazards such as strainers, dams with reverse hydraulics, boulders, barb wire across the river, eddies, etc.
  • Know your limits and do not attempt a section of river beyond your skill level.
  • Do not paddle or attempt to cross rivers in flood stage or after a heavy rain. Currents can become very swift, even in a normally shallow river.
  • If you capsize, hold onto your craft and move immediately to the upstream side to avoid being trapped between the boat and an obstacle. Float on your back, feet together and pointed downstream. Gradually work your way to the shore. Release your craft only if it improves your safety. 
  • Tie all your gear into the boat, but never yourself, children, or pets. Do not stand up in swift water (feet can get caught in rocks) but swim with the current at a 45 degree angle toward the shore.
  • Carry the proper equipment, including dry clothing and a first aid kit. Store all extra gear in a secure watertight container.
  • Stay sober. Alcohol and drugs affect balance, judgment, coordination, swimming skills, and the body's ability to stay warm.
  • Avoid being "too" — too tired, too drunk, too much sun, too far from safety, too much strenuous activity. 
  • Learn basic water rescue techniques. When attempting a rescue, remember the adage of "Reach - Throw - Row - Go for Help." Unprepared rescuers run the risk of being caught in the same dangerous situation and can become a victim themselves. If you have to go after someone in the water, always put on a life jacket first.

How much do you know about water safety? Before you head out to the lake, take the American Red Cross Water Safety Quiz and found out.

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