Water safety a focus for boaters on Kansas lakes, rivers

Kansas

JEFFERSON Co. (KSNT) – With hotter weather, more people are getting out on lakes and rivers, causing people to have a renewed focus on water safety.

State officials said boaters, whether in a kayak, canoe, or pontoon, need to know their surroundings and where possible dangers are.

“It’s also important when you’re out there boating is you know where different obstructions are,” Ryan Smidt said, a game warden for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism. “I mean even on a reservoir, there are still areas that you need to keep an eye out for.”

Denny Tryon fishes for crappie at Lake Perry in Jefferson County. He said he’s noticed more boats on the water.

“Since the pandemic, yes, there’s a lot more lake traffic,” Tryon said. “Small lakes, large lakes, rivers, any body of water.”

He agrees people need to pay attention to what’s in the water.

“Use your electronics,” he said. “Make sure you know where you are on the lake as far as depth is concerned, so you don’t run up on a rock pile, you don’t hit things of this nature, shallow water.”

Experts said rivers can provide a different type of danger than lakes. Rivers can have strong currents, and help from law enforcement could be miles away.

“When you’re out on the river, you’re probably going to be the only one, or one of the few ones out there and you’re kind of going to be on your own,” Smidt said. “So it’s even more important then to make sure all your boat is running properly before you go out on the water.”

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