JOHNSON COUNTY, Iowa (KCRG) - Two people died Friday afternoon at Lake Macbride State Park in Johnson County after the canoe they were in tipped.
Park Rangers at Lake Macbride told KCRG it was an unfortunate accident.
Rangers are expecting more people to visit the lake this week as temperatures soar but are reminding boaters how to stay safe on the water.
Park Rangers at Lake Macbride made clear that having well-fitting life jackets is one of the best things you can do to keep yourself safe when you’re in or on the water.
The two victims in Friday’s drowning were not wearing life jackets. Since the incident, Park Rangers spent the weekend patrolling the waters to make sure people were practicing proper boat safety.
“Our biggest red flag is just folks not having enough life jackets for the number of occupants on the boat,” Jason Dykstra, Park Ranger at Lake MacBride State Park, said.
In Iowa, all watercraft must have life jackets- from kayaks to jet skis.
But the law does not require people 13 and older to wear them. DNR recommends that everyone wears a life jacket, though, no matter the age.
“Anything can happen on the water. Everyone has different experience levels and comfort levels with vessels, especially with canoes, kayaks, they’re not as stable as larger boats. Depending on their experience levels, things can happen that they tip over,” Dykstra said.
He also said that if you are in a situation where your boats tips and you end up in the water, the best things you can do are find a floatation device and make noise to alert those around you.