Staying safe on the water this holiday weekend - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Staying safe on the water this holiday weekend

Lifejackets at Potato Creek State Park Lifejackets at Potato Creek State Park
Out at Potato Creek State Park Conservation Officers are working hard to make sure everyone enjoys the 4th without getting hurt. 

This weekend Michelle Burgett and her family are spending a lot of time near the water. she says she's always thinking about her Grandson's safety.

"With kids you never know what can happen. In an instant, they're there and then they're overboard," Burgett said.

Conservation Officer John Boyd says the July 4th weekend is one of his busiest. His team is doing extra patrols to ensure that everyone stays safe.

"There's a lot of people out there. There's a lot of boats out there and we don't want to see any collisions," Boyd said.

He also says the most important water safety tip is to always wear your life jacket.

"On regular boats: canoes, kayaks, 50 foot yachts you're required to have life jackets for everybody on board and make sure that they properly fit," Boyd said.

Children 12 and under are required to wear a life jacket at all times on the water. Officer Boyd says if someone does fall overboard, remember these simple words

Reach, throw, row, go get help.

 Finally, Boyd says being concerned about water safety isn't just important for this weekend.

"If they're going out on the lake, I don't care-in December, they need to make sure they have the proper safety equipment. Summer, those things, we just want to go out and have fun, but the first thing we need to worry about is being safe. Okay? Safety first, fun comes second," said Officer Boyd.

Officer Boyd says it's also a good idea to have a cell phone or other communication device onboard a boat with you in case you need to call for help. Also, if someone does fall overboard, Officer Boyd says it's dangerous to jump in after them. It's better to call for help and take his advice to either reach out and pull the person back in, row out to them, or throw them a flotation device.

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