Hennepin County Sheriff Urges Boaters To Wear Life Jackets
The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office is reminding families to stay safe on the water ahead of the Fourth of July holiday.
The sheriff’s office and the outdoor company Onyx handed out more than 100 free life jackets to children and adults Friday morning.
“With the holiday weekend, we know that we see an increase in the amount of incidents on the water,” Sheriff Dawanna Witt said.
The event was hosted at Elm Creek Park Reserve in front of the popular swim pond.
Sheriff: No Life Jacket ‘Can Be Life Threatening’
Witt urged boaters to wear a life jacket while on the water.
“Boating without a life jacket — it can be life threatening,” Witt said. “We know that you can’t plan for everything, but you can prepare. And by wearing your life jacket people are more prepared for whatever the unknown is.”
Representatives from Onyx demonstrated the proper use and fitting of a life jacket.
“Getting it fitted, making sure it’s the right size to ensure that they’re getting their maximum amount of protection — it’s important,” Witt said. “We’re also doing it for adults here too, making sure that they know the importance of wearing those life jackets when out on the water.”
Witt said that life jackets are an important part of preventing drownings during boating accidents.
“It also helps us when we have to go looking for people,” she said. “So yes, it does save lives.”
According to the Center for Disease Control, 80 percent of people who drown while boating were not wearing a life jacket.
“The more life jackets that we have out there, the more that we provide to people — we have to take that serious,” Witt added. “We do know that there are some people who don’t have them and so they don’t wear them and as a consequence, things happen.”