A couple of recent drownings have state officials warning early season boaters to take the proper precautions. Randy Edwards of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says while the sunny days are nice for boating, the water temperature can pose problems. He says it’s a little deceptive this time of year because while the air temperature is warm, the water temperature is still very cold and he says when you fall into cold water, that’s when you run into trouble. Edwards says the cold water quickly robs you of your ability to stay afloat. He says people think you’re gonna splash around out there for a long time, but he says most adults, even in warm water will drown in less than one minute. He says a lot of people think if you fall into the water you’ll surface thrash around and resurface, but he says partcularily in cold water, people fall in and never surface again. Edwards says you can prevent problems by preparing before you take the boat out. He says check your boat and equipment and fuel. He says. “Obviously the first and foremost thing is to make sure you got the correct number and types of life jackets on board. And even though in Iowa we don’t require them to be worn by people in the vessel, it’s always a good idea to wear your life jacket.” He says there’s now a lot of life jackets to choose from in new styles. He says they look like a collar and are not big and bulky like the old styles. Edwards says the new life jackets even do the work for you. He says a lot of the new inflatable life jackets have automatic inflators that inflate as soon as you hit the water. Edwards has another tip for boaters:he says it’s just as important to let people know where you’re going and when you’ll be back, and he says take someone with you. Edwards says all the equipment won’t do you any good if you don’t make sure it’s in good working order, and in the case of life jackets, if you don’t wear them.
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