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DNR advises boaters use caution on swollen rivers, reservoirs

  • 5/23/2017 11:47:00 AM
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Boaters, anglers, and paddlers are encouraged to use caution if planning to spend time on Iowa rivers or flood control reservoirs over the Memorial Day holiday. Heavy rainfall last weekend has brought many rivers to near flood stage and the force of the water will likely have moved around logs and other obstacles.

The most important safety tips are for all passengers to wear a properly fitting U.S. Coast Guard-approved lifejacket, and for boat operators to not operate the craft faster than the conditions or their abilities allow.     

“Our rivers are always changing. Floating tree limbs and other obstructions can be hidden just below the water surface and striking them can cause damage to the boat or can eject passengers,” said Susan Stocker, boating education coordinator for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. “Look for floating debris.  Often the water is stained from runoff so encourage all passengers to help spot any hazards.”

In addition to the challenge of high water, Stocker said Iowa lakes will be busy and that boaters should exercise patience at the boat ramp and practice safe boating on the water.

 “Slow down, watch for other boaters or personal watercraft, have patience and most importantly, have a designated operator who will stay clear of any alcohol,” she said.