The Water Patrol reminds boaters that Missouri’s lakes and rivers will be crowded this weekend. Sergeant Jerry Callahan says last year there were relatively few fatalities, but the patrol always hopes to see fewer.
Four fatals total marred last year’s end-of-summer holiday weekend: two were boating fatalities and two were drownings.
He says patrolmen will be out in force to help boaters in need, enforce the law and make Missouri’s lakes and rivers safer for everyone.
Callahan says Missouri’s big rivers are still up slightly from flooding this year, but that all of the floating streams are in prime condition for recreation. He reminds boaters to wear life jackets, check boating safety equipment, and designate a sober captain before the boat ever leaves the dock.
Bodies were never recovered when a trooper went missing in the water in Northwest Missouri, and when a woman slipped beneath the surface on the Missouri in Jefferson City. Callahan reminds boaters who are going to be out on the waterways this weekend to keep their eyes open … the patrol’s search efforts continue. He says the patrol is also communicating with state authorities down-stream in case anything surfaces. Callahan says both are listed as fatalities, but recovering bodies is important in that it does help the families get a sense of closure.
Boating recreation in Missouri continues well into the fall, especially for hunters and anglers, but the Water Patrol says this weekend will be the last summer weekend on the water for many, he says.
Drowning victims are often people who either overestimate their swimming abilities, or underestimate the water’s depth, Callahan says. Missouri’s rivers can vary in depth quite rapidly, dropping off, he says, and currents and underwater debris can be unpredictable and impossible to see. That makes swimming in Missouri’s rivers risky, even for good swimmers.