‘It’s not rocket science’: Boaters demand life jacket use after another drowning

Local News

Courtesy: Deer Creek State Park

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) – Safety officials continue to preach water safety this holiday weekend after a 69-year-old man died from drowning in Deer Creek Reservoir Saturday.

He’s the fourth person to drown in that body of water in the last 2.5 weeks, according to police.

It’s said over and over again for a reason; wear a lifejacket.

Police say all four of the people who drowned in Deer Creek Reservoir in the last two weeks were not wearing a lifejacket.

Boaters in the area say don’t ever overestimate your abilities in the water.

A life jacket doesn’t prevent someone from drowning but it does make survival much more likely for someone who inadvertently ends up in the water.

Take it from 39-year-old Mark Stubler and 59-year-old John Van Slooten. 

“It’s tough because even the kids ask to take off their life jacket, but you just can’t go wrong with leaving your life jacket on,” shares Stubler.

On top of having two kids, Stubler has been a boater for more than a decade now.

He says, rules are in place for a reason and he and his kids follow them.

Van Slooten has two tips:

“First, know where are you are at all times and know how deep the water is,” says Van Slooten. “Second, wear a life jacket. You gotta wear a lifejacket and you gotta kinda know where you are and gotta kinda know there’s people around you and people need to be watching out for each other. That’s really important.”

What’s really important is Van Slooten is a no nonsense guy. The father of six states, at all times in the water everybody must be wearing a life jacket.

“There’s kind of an unknown rule of watch out, be courteous give each other space,” adds Stubler.

Stubler advises that everybody watch out for one another and keep in mind who and what is around you.

It is very easy for someone to get disoriented quickly.

Both Stubler and Van Slooten say the life jacket becomes a safety blanket because something goes wrong it will alleviate much of the panic.

Officials say unfortunately more times than not when they respond to a call it’s a recovery operation, not a rescue.

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