Recent drownings in Utah bring focus on water safety

Local News

MORGAN, Utah (ABC4) – State officials are becoming increasingly concerned as more drownings happen across Utah.

Since the middle of June, ABC4 has reported on seven drownings from Weber County down to Utah County and over to Wasatch County.  We focused much of our attention on Pineview and Deer Creek Reservoirs. 

People ranging in ages from 16 to 72 were all victims of drownings. 

Devan Chavez with the Utah State Parks says many could be saved with these easy tips. 

First, check the water temperatures before heading out. 

Chavez says 68 degrees sounds refreshing but can be deadly. 

“You’re getting colder, and colder water. The body starts to cramp up, you get disoriented, those stages of hypothermia to where that life jacket may be keeping you afloat, but it’s not keeping you as warm as getting out of the water would,” he says.

Second, life jackets save lives. Chavez tells ABC4 that 80 percent of drownings involve victims who don’t wear life jackets.

“Life jackets should be your number one tool in helping you and your family stay safe when you hit the reservoir,” says Chavez. 

Third, whatever you do, and no matter how hard it is, officials say don’t jump in after your loved one. Throw them a life preserver or something to grab.

“Don’t jump in after somebody, it can cause a very scary situation very quickly,” he says. “Jumping in after them, like I said, could reach two victims instead of one very, very quickly.”

Fourth, if you’re on a boat, radio for help or leave to find someone who can help you.

“If someone you’re with falls overboard getting that May Day, call out as soon as you can is paramount,” he says. “You want to get boots on the ground headed your way as quick as possible.”

One of the most important things is often overlooked. While you’re out on the water, officials say stay hydrated. 

“I know it is getting very hot out there, and really, really warm, we want to make sure that everyone is having a safe and enjoyable time.”

Allowing you and your loved ones to return back to the water another day.

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