Conservation officers promise increased patrols on popular waterways

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Conservation officers with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources is promising increased patrols as the more popular central Indiana waterways become packed with boaters. One of their biggest concerns is the number of people who have already drowned in Indiana this year.

“We had 52 drownings in Indiana last year, and this year, we’re already up to the low 20’s, and we’re halfway through the year,” said Jet Quillen, conservation officer.

Quillen made multiple stops on Geist Reservoir on Monday. He said he is just trying to prevent a worst case scenario.

“If there’s something that is nearby to them that they can grab a hold of, but they’re panicking, and can’t, ask, ‘try swimming to me,'” said Quillen.

Quillen said boaters often drink too much alcohol on the water as they are operating a boat. He said people do not realize how much of an impact the water and sun can have on their bodies until it is too late.

The Fishers Police Department and Fishers Fire Department will join the conservation officers on Geist Reservoir soon to assist with the big crowds on the weekends.

“If we can just get people to be aware and speak to the younger folks, the kids, and let them know what the dangers are, I think we’ll be on the right track,” said Quillen.

Conservation officers will also be working with the Indiana State Police who will be looking for intoxicated boaters at area marinas who are getting into their vehicles.