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Stay safe in the water

By Eugenia Jones

McCreary County is blessed with many beautiful waterfalls, rivers, streams, and other bodies of waters. However, along with that beauty, comes the danger of drowning.  Since there have been multiple drowning deaths throughout the years in McCreary County and nearby Lake Cumberland, The Voice wants to remind our readers of safety tips to help prevent tragedy while enjoying the water.

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Officer Joey Braden points to the obvious water safety tip:  always wear a life jacket.  Officer Braden notes that of the more than 300 drownings in Lake Cumberland, none of the individuals wore a life jacket except one.  Officer Braden also reminds boaters to have the proper number of life jackets on board when boating and reminds water enthusiasts that inflatable life jackets (often used by anglers) must be worn in order to count as a life jacket on board a vessel.  Rather than just having a life jacket on board, Braden recommends those who are out on the water alone to always wear their life jacket .

Officer Braden also emphasizes the common sense advice of not using alcohol when enjoying the water and urges everyone to always pay attention and be cautious.

“The best and only thing I can say is to leave the alcohol at home, always pay attention, and wear your life jacket,” Officer Braden reiterated.  “The water is beautiful, but it can be dangerous.”

Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area Superintendent Niki Nicholas reiterates Braden’s words of wisdom to always have personal flotation devices (PFD) available-and if not wearing PFD when close by the water, at least have it readily available to throw to someone in need.  Nicholas also urges everyone to plan in advance how to communicate with emergency responders should the need arise. Before enjoying an outdoor outing, always determine if cell phone service is available in the area.  If not available, determine the quickest way to communicate with first responders in the event an emergency occurs.

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