In the last three weekends, we have had two drowning deaths on Lake Grapevine.  These events are a tragic reminder to apply some simple safety rules while on the water.

Both drownings on Lake Grapevine over the last few weekends have a common thread.  Each Individual jumped into the lake without a life jacket and then got into some trouble and could not get back to the boat.  Life jackets are called life jackets for a reason.  They save lives.

Even for strong swimmers, entering a lake without a life jacket is a risky proposition.  Waves from wind and other boats make swimming in a lake much more difficult than in a pool.  And a day out in the sun typically tires your body and muscles.  So the lesson is that it is better to be safe.  If you want to swim around in the lake, do so.  But take a life jacket or other US Coast Guard approved flotation device with you.

I can remember being stopped several years ago by game wardens on a lake while fishing with my Dad.  The wardens only asked to see the life vests in the boats.  I asked the game warden why he stopped us just to check for life vests and he replied simply, “I’ve never had to pull a body from the bottom of the lake that had a life vest on.”  It has had an impact me ever since.

Here are some simple boating safety tips from the Texas Parks and Wildlife website:

– Always wear a life jacket.
– Avoid alcohol.
– Be especially careful on personal watercrafts.
– Children younger than age 13 must wear a Coast Guard approved life jacket while underway.
– Enroll in a boater education class.
– Don’t overload your boat.
– Operate at a safe speed.
– Always have a passenger serve as a lookout in addition to the operator.
– Watch out for low water areas or submerged objects.

Safety always comes first on a boat.  The number one goal of a boat captain is to get all his passengers home safely.

Please be careful on Lake Grapevine and other area lakes this summer.