Iowans are being reminded about the dangers lurking in rivers following a string of recent drownings. On Wednesday, two bodies were recovered from eastern Iowa rivers after separate incidents. Susan Stocker, boating law administrator and education coordinator with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says many of rivers are carrying large debris.
“Even though we haven’t had rain for a while, we had high waters in the spring and all of that debris is going to wash down to our rivers and create snags and some hazards that people need to look out for,” Stocker says. Rivers can also be dangerous because of what’s going on just beneath the water’s surface.
“With the higher water, you’re currents are going to be faster,” Stocker says. “The other thing for people to be aware of is if you do have floating debris…there may be a very large tree and all you’re seeing is one branch of the tree and you’re not aware of what’s just under the surface.” Current river levels across Iowa are not considered unsafe, but Stocker says it’s always a good idea to wear a life jacket.
“Because, if you haven’t been out on the water, you’re unfamiliar with the area and in an emergency situation, you won’t have time to put on a life jacket,” Stocker says.