GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Officials in Greenville are stressing the importance of wearing life jackets in shallow water. They say they can save your life when you’re out on the water.
“I think there’s a lot of people that just don’t realize how much danger they’re in while boating on a nice calm river,” Kelsey Curtis said. “A lot of things can go wrong very quickly.”
Kelsey Curtis is the owner of kayaking company Knee Deep Adventures, spending her days on rivers in the east. She says the waters are unpredictable.
“It might be shallow one minute, then you might go into a hole the next,” Curtis said.
Boaters say they have experienced the hazards first hand.
“I did hit a log out here on the river, had a little crack in it,” boater Bradley Dunn said. “You can probably get in trouble easier on shallow water. It’s easy to run up on something, especially out here in the river.”
“You might be in 8 feet of water one second and hit a sandbar that’s only a foot deep,” boater Dalen Woolard added.
Curtis says people should have life jackets that are easily accessible.
“We are down at the boat launches, a lot of motorboats go out, if they do have life jackets, a lot of times they’re stored underneath,” Curtis said. “People don’t have the life jacket within reach, it’s almost like you might as well not even have it on board.”
“For a while, we had ours in compartments that were very difficult to get to, you had to take seat cushions off,” Woolard added. “I think it’s very important to have them close by, easy to get to, because if you have to go by unlatching things, that just takes too long. We only have seconds to spare.”
Curtis says it’s just as easy to drown in shallow water as it is deep water.
Whether you’re wake boarding and tubing, or just cruising down the river, Curtis says life jackets are necessary in any situation on the water.
“No matter if you’re in a motorboat, kayak, paddle board, you need them for any kind of water activity, because you never know what’s going to happen,” Curtis said.
Curtis says the type of life jacket you wear is also important. She says it should be Coast Guard certified, and fits the persons height and weight. The better suited it is for the person wearing it, the more buoyancy he or she will have in the water,