WDAY: The News Leader

Published July 07, 2012, 08:42 PM

Authorities remind of floatation safety guidelines

Detroit Lakes, MN (WDAY TV) -- Going to the Lakes is a summer staple, filled with fun on land, but especially on water....but all that fun can turn to tragedy in an instant.

Detroit Lakes, MN (WDAY TV) - Going to the lakes is a summer staple, filled with fun on land, but especially on water, but all that fun can turn to tragedy in an instant.

Each year accidents happen and people drown because they weren't wearing the proper safety equipment. Becker County Boat and Water Deputy Cody Bouchie has seen his fair share of boating accidents.

Cody Bouchie - Becker County Boat and Water Deputy: "Anytime I've ever dealt with a victim of a boating accident they've always said, 'I wish I would have had my life jacket on' so, you never know when an accident may happen. It might be in the middle of the day, it might be in the middle of the night."

It's law that children 10 and younger wear a life vest while on the water. Bouchie strongly encourages everyone to keep one on.

Cody Bouchie: "It is very important to have any kind of flotation device that you have available on, so that when an accident does happen you are able to float instead of sinking if you become unconscious."

It's also the law for anyone skiing, tubing or being pulled on any other devices to wear a vest. A good guideline is too wear the right vest for what you're doing on the water.

Marty Kumpula - Lakes Sports Shop: "If you're skiing you want to have one that's made for skiing, because they have an impact rating."

Lakes Sport Shop Sales Associate Marty Kumpula says a regular riding vest can only withstand a force of about 20 miles per hour, but specific skiing vests can be useful up to 70 miles per hour.

Marty Kumpula: "Just a regular boating vest wont hold up if you fall off skis at 30 miles an hour."

With all life vests you're going to want to make sure they fit snug, especially with children, if you pull up and there's too much space, it's too big.

Marty Kumpula: "You grab under the shoulders and pick up, because if the vest starts coming up off of them, you know it's going to come off when they hit the water, and that's not going to do any good."

Of course following all of the guidelines to have the right vest only works if you use it.

Cody Bouchie: "It's safety. It's not always the person I'm talking to I'm worried about, it's the person I haven't spoken to yet that may be intoxicated on the boat, not being able to pay attention and they have the boat trimmed up to far and they aren't able to see the people in front of them and that's when they hit somebody."

On any boat there needs to be a flotation vest for each person on board.