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Staying Safe While Enjoying Missouri's Rivers, Lakes

Emily McTavish
Galloway Creek following flooding June 19 and 20 in the Springfield area.

The weekend drowning of an Ohio man along the James River is the fourth fatality  of its kind in southwest Missouri this year, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop D.

What can the public do to enjoy Missouri waterways this summer safely and securely? Diana Newman, owner of Hootontown Canoe Rental, suggests, among other things, never going alone.

“You shouldn’t really ever go by yourself, just in case, especially if the water is not at a normal level," said Newman

That normal level is a major factor. According to Newman sections of the James River near her business have reached 30 foot deep, and in many cases this can make the recovery from an accident more difficult than normal.

“Usually on the James if you tip, its usually going to be where it’s a little faster, which means it’s a little lower, you just stand up. That’s always been kind of the joke you know. If you tip just stand up. Well, when you’ve got water in there and it’s higher, the current is stronger, and it’s hard to stand up," Newman says.

Wearing a life jacket is another key safety measure to take. Which is a requirement when renting from Hootontown.

“Everybody gets a life jacket, whether it be the orange, you know just the yolk ones, or a vest," Newman said.

For more information on life jackets and boater safety, including times and locations for classes, click here.