Ottumwa Fire Department wants you to be safe while on water

While many are waiting for the rains to stop and are itching to get back out on the water in their boats, the Ottumwa Fire Department would like to remind people about staying safe while out on the water.

First off, it is imperative to make sure that every passenger on the boat has a flotation device on board. Children must be wearing a life jacket while on the boat.

If somebody should fall overboard, there should be something on board that can be thrown to them such as a throw ring.

Before you take your boat out on the water, you should check to make sure its motor is working properly.

Ottumwa Fire said this is the time of the year when they get the most calls for water emergencies.

â??One of the main things to worry about now is the current -- of course with all the water that we've got, the currentâ??s going to be a lot stronger than what it normally is. Boats with a smaller motor may not be able to handle a current they would normally when it's not moving quite this fast so you want to make sure that whatever your motor you have you can properly navigate against the stream,â?? said Bill Keith, Master Firefighter at Ottumwa Fire Department.

Keith said OFD is trained for water rescues. When they go out on a call, they first make sure all personnel are wearing specialized life flotation devices that help them hook onto a victim in the water. Additionally, there is a release on the device in case they have to move away quickly from the boat.