Kansas and Missouri law enforcement will step up patrols on the water

HILLSDALE, Kan. - A warning to boaters on Kansas and Missouri lakes: law enforcement will step up patrols on the water.

The statewide patrol operations start this weekend and last through the Fourth of July holiday.

More people are expected to holiday on lakes during the next two weekends than any other time of the year.
Four people drowned this past weekend in the metro area; three of them were on lakes.

Patrols will be looking for people who don't have enough life jackets on board to reckless drivers.

Kansas game wardens said 90 percent of those who drown or get injured have been drinking too much.

"Folks come out and they're recreating, they imbibed in a few adult beverages, they get a 'little liquid courage' and then, sometimes they get fatigued,” Gary Lucas, the Hillsdale State Park Manager, said. “The wind, the heat is working on them. We want everyone to be safe and sure they're not under the influence of alcohol."

The Miami County Sheriff's office said it's too early to know exactly how a 57-year-old Gardner man died late Saturday, but they said they found him and his personal watercraft in a cove with heavy timber.

The office said it will watch those areas even more closely.

The office said some personal watercraft drivers like to maneuver through the wooded areas.

“Users want to be in September and slalom through the temper they like to ramp up jumps," Lucas said.

Boating through the timber isn't illegal, but wardens said it isn't safe. They advise all boaters to know the reservoir they're using.

“If you don't know the reservoir, you'll lose your motor,” Lt. David Ellis, with the Kansas Dept. of Wildlife, said.

The stepped up patrols will last through July 7.

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