DNR provides water safety tips following recent drownings

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – DNR officials said more than a half dozen people have drowned this year in Indiana already.

According to the DNR, far too often people are not prepared to be in a body of water, but there are some simple tips to keep in mind that could end up saving your life.

“We’ve been very busy with drownings unfortunately,” Jet Quillen, an IFD diver and DNR conservation officer, said.

Quillen was in the White River Friday night and Saturday morning searching for 13-year-old Micah Strong.

We got on scene and divers went in immediately,” Quillen said.

Witnesses told IFD the boy couldn’t swim, but was hanging out near the White River with other kids.

“If you can’t swim you have to really think, it is worth it going around the water?” Quillen said.

If a waterfront spot is a must for a non-swimmer, Quillen says wear a life jacket or bring a flotation device.

“It might not be the most comfortable or coolest thing to wear a life jacket, but people don’t drown wearing life jackets,” Quillen said.

Still, DNR officials said nothing can replace strong swimming skills.

“We’re seeing more and more young children that don’t know how to swim, so if you can get them involved in that, it’s great exercise, it could save their life. There are so many benefits to swimming,” Quillen said.

Quillen said even water-lovers need to be aware, especially in natural bodies of water.

“It can drop off quickly. It can change quickly. You could come out the next day and it could be totally different. If we got rain or it’s been dry, you never know what’s underneath the surface of the water,” Quillen said.

Even with these tips in mind, firefighters are sending a stern warning following the teen’s death.

“I would recommend that no one go near the river at all, it’s obviously dangerous especially at nighttime. visibiltiy is decreased. With the current and debris in the river, it just makes it a very bad idea to go swimming in the river,” Jason Kistler with the IFD said early Saturday morning.

There are several organizations in the Central Indiana area that over swim lessons year around, some even for free.

Click here for more information on swim lessons.

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