NDOW Encourages Safety as Boating Season Arrives
Officials say anybody on a boat or other watercraft should wear a life vest.
As temperatures rise back into the 70s, more people are heading outside. Some are even taking their boats, kayaks, or paddleboards out on the lakes and rivers in our area. The water is still very cold, so officials are encouraging people to use caution and always wear a personal flotation device.
"They're called accidents for a reason," Aaron Meier, Boating Education Coordinator for the Nevada Department of Wildlife said. "You don't know what's going to happen. You could wind up in that water."
According to the safe boating council, 84.5 percent of recreational boating drowning victims were not wearing a life vest.
"If you're wearing a life vest, you're just going to get wet," Meier said. "You're going to get wet and get back in but if you're not, it could end tragically and that's what we're trying to prevent."
This comes two days after crews recovered a teenager's body from Silver Lake. They had been searching for the Sunni Dicarrillo, who went missing March 16, on the lake.
Officials have not confirmed if the body belonged to Dicarrillo or if he was wearing a life jacket. The incident is a sad reminder that these tragedies can happen on almost any body of water.
Many drowning victims die as a result of Cold Water Immersion.
"Your body's first instinct is to take a big gasp when you hit that water," Meier said. "If you're not wearing a life vest and you take a big gasp of water, it might be over before it even begins."
Meier wants people to consider this as summer approaches. He says despite the cold water and mild temperatures, most of these incidents do not happen until the summer when most people go out onto the water. The summer temperatures will be hot but he says the water will stay cold.
"Up at Tahoe, July, August, it's going to be hot," Meier said. "It's going to be 80-85 degrees and you're going to be out there. The water is still 50 degrees. You hit that water in just the wrong situation, that could end very tragically."
Nevada law requires each passenger of a boat or other watercraft to have a life vest. All children have to wear a life vest if they are 12 years-old or younger. That includes people on kayaks and paddleboards, where Meier sees the highest number of people without the proper safety gear.
"It's going to start warming up and we want everybody out there," Meier said. "We want you to enjoy all that Nevada has to offer but we also want you to use your head."