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Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources: “Water Safety Always Starts With A Life Jacket”

The DNR says they have recorded 14 deaths related to boating activity so far this year.
(Associated Press)
Published: Aug. 6, 2020 at 9:56 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - According to a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) news release, 89% of the 2019 boat fatalities in Wisconsin were not wearing life jackets.

The DNR says they have recorded 14 deaths related to boating activity so far this year. Nine of the 10 individuals in the confirmed incidents were not wearing life jackets. The remaining four incidents are still under investigation.

“When on, or even near, the water, always have an eye on safety. A life jacket can be the assurance your loved ones will make it home,” DNR Chief Conservation Warden Casey Krueger said. “Put on your life jacket before you get in the boat, or your canoe, or your kayak or paddleboard or wade along the shoreline. Keep it on until you get back to land. Once your life jacket is on, you can focus on the fun.”

DNR Recreation Warden Jason Roberts said the belief that you can put a life jacket on during an emergency is unrealistic.

“There are jackets designed for various sports. I wear one that is so comfortable that I can forget I have it on. Things can go wrong in an instant,” said Roberts. “Wardens have responded to numerous drowning deaths only to find a life jacket stuffed inside a kayak or floating near the capsized canoe.”

Boat safety tips recommended by the DNR can be found here.

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