DES MOINES, IOWA — It has been a dangerous start to summer on Iowa waters. After multiple drownings have been reported over the past couple of weeks at Iowa lakes, DNR safety instructor Todd Robertson is encouraging people on the water to wear a life jacket.
“One thing I’ve learned over the years as a canoe, instructor and wearing a life jacket myself, wearing a life jacket is not cheesy”, said Robertson, “OK, it’s not a fashion statement, you wear a life jacket because it will add buoyancy to you being in the water, so it’s going to save your life. Wearing a life jacket is too cool, it means you’re responsible so that’s why we recommend everybody wear the life jacket.”
Robertson said canoes kayak and standing boards are required to have life jackets as well, but people are not required to wear them.
The only problem with that is, you have a hard time getting the jacket on after the water craft has capsized.
“You’ve got remember drowning is not like this violent loud event, it’s a very silent thing that happens,” said Robertson “There’s not a lot of thrashing in the water. You’re not screaming for help because you’re usually below the water, so you turn around if you’re not keeping an eye on someone especially the kids. So going out with groups or being with loved ones or friends that’s the safest way to do it.”
At Foss Swim School they offer swimming lessons for kids, and adults. Mindy Jansen is the Director of the Foss Swim School in Ankeny. She said adults can take longer time to train, as they often have a lifetime of fear of water to deal with. She said most adults hesitate to come in for lessons as they worry about what other people might think, that they don’t know how to swim.
“There are Baby Boomers that do not know how to swim,so a lot of people are going vacations cruises,” said Jansen. “That’s a good time where they come in, okay I’m going with my friend. I need to learn how to swim. I need to learn to be safe. I’m gonna be in the ocean for the first time.”