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Highway patrol troopers preach boating, water safety this summer

Water safety
Posted at 6:12 PM, Jun 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-08 19:12:39-04

LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo.  — With the weather heating up a lot of people are likely going to be heading out to local pools and lakes.

Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers hope people will take the time to learn proper boating safety before getting out on the water.

Sgt. David Campbell patrols lakes in Jackson County, such as Longview Lake.

Far too often, he notices most boaters are beginners.

"They learn everything the hard way, they think it's simpler than what it really is, and there's a multitude of things that can go wrong with boating," Campbell said.

The Highway Patrol publishes a boating safety booklet that details how to safely go out on the water.

In Missouri, anyone who operates a boat must pass a boating safety course if they were born after 1984.

When it comes to swimming, Campbell said Jackson County's ordinance is there for a reason. It only allows people to swim in lakes from a beach or off of a boat if they are wearing a life jacket.

"If you swim in a more remote or un-designated area there are hidden drop offs, unknown conditions, currents, broken glass or sharp, metal debris so just swimming in a lake randomly is kind of dangerous to begin with," Campbell said.

Campbell said he often sees alcohol play a role in water-related tragedies.

"Probably more so the drownings because people who have had too much to drink do things they wouldn't normally do like attempt a long distance swim or swim somewhere where it's not safe," Campbell said.

He's asking boaters to designate a driver to be sure everyone comes home safe.