Tips on staying safe on Iowa rivers - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Tips on staying safe on Iowa rivers

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Cory Robinson takes his family out on the Cedar River once a week. They try to come on weekdays when there are fewer boaters.

"My kids like to ski," said Robinson of Mount Vernon. "I feel ... the safest time to be out here is when there's fewer boats on the water."

On the weekends, Robinson says he sees a lot of irresponsible boaters.

"People are whipping their inner tubes back and forth," said Robinson. "Things of that nature. Kind of out of control."

Boaters like that, officials said, can cause accidents.

The Cedar Rapids Fire Department has to make around a dozen water rescues each summer. They say the top problem they see is owners not keeping up with a boat's maintenance.

"Know the limitations of your boat," said Greg Buelow, Cedar Rapids Fire Department Public Information Officer. "Make sure it's properly serviced and a lot of these problems are avoided."

A big problem the department sees is people out on the water, whether they're boating or tubing, without their life jackets.

"You have to have a life jacket on at all times," said Buelow. "It's really that piece of protective equipment that's going to help give you a better chance of surviving if you would go into the water and have a problem."

Another tip the fire department offers is to know the water you're on.

Robinson agreed.

"The bottom of the river changes constantly, so knowing where I can go, where I can't go, where I have to go slow at, where I can go faster at -- it's kind of an important thing," said Robinson.

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