First responders hope one family’s close call reminds everyone to stay safe on the water

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NOBLESVILLE, Ind. – One family in Noblesville had a close call this weekend after their canoe capsized in the White River and first responders hope this incident serves as a warning for everyone venturing out on water.

“We’ve still got the cold waters, the fast moving waters, the high waters,” DNR Conservation Officer Mark Baker said. “These all create dangers.”

The family of four was canoeing when they hit some trees that were covered by water and flipped over. Police officers did have to rescue two of the people from the river. All four were rushed to the hospital, and everyone was okay.

However, while no one was hurt in this incident, Baker says people still need to take the water seriously.

“That’s the bottom line. Be prepared. Get educated,” Baker said.

He explained the most important piece of equipment when going on the water is a life jacket, but just having one isn’t always enough.

“It is vitally important if you have a life jacket, you have one that fits the intended wearer because if you don’t have one that fits the intended wearer it’s really not going to do you what it’s supposed to do,” he said.

Baker added having a throw rope is also a good item anytime you plan to go boating or floating down a river.

“Easy to carry. Easy to transport. Easy to use, but in an emergency situation (a throw rope) could save a life,” Baker said.

Finally, Baker said it is crucial that people are aware of the river they are about to float down. He explained when you drop a car off downstream at the point you plan to end at, you should scout the river for any dams or other dangers you may have to maneuver.

“Keep an eye on it to see if there are hazards you need to watch out for when you’re floating,” he said.

Brian Cooley owns White River Canoe Company and on a busy day in the summer he will have 800 to 1,200 customers floating down the river. He said he preaches safety on a daily basis and his biggest piece of advice is to make sure you know the conditions.

He explained there are days when he will let no one out on the river or just no one under 18 because of water levels.

In 2016, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources responded to 104 water rescues, 65 calls for drowning and had to send in the scuba team 34 times.