Lake officials enforce safety after drowning - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Lake officials enforce safety after drowning

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It was another busy Saturday at Coralville Lake, but safety is on the minds of a lot of boaters after last week’s drowning.

The Army Corps of Engineers says Somphaeng “Meo” Syvixay, 35, of Iowa City, drowned June 13. According to authorities, he was not wearing a life jacket.

Jim Mahoney lives just off Coralville Lake and says he and his family are regulars.

While boating is something they do very often, safety is always stressed to his kids before jumping on the boat.

“I don’t care if they’re a great swimmer or not, because once they go under, I can’t see them,” said Mahoney. “They’re good, they know the rules and if they don’t do it, then they don’t get to play.”

His son, Jack says while the life jacket is uncomfortable sometimes, he wants to stay safe.

“Pretty important, because without it you could drown,” said Jack.

Jack is required by law to wear a properly fitting life jacket because he is under thirteen.

DNR officials are renewing their call for people to stay safe on the water.

They’re recommending everyone to wear a life jacket and strongly encouraging boaters to know boating regulations before going on the water.

“It’s a lot of fun when you get used to it,” said 9-year-old Jace Scarberry.

Officials say most drowning victims never planned on getting in the water.

“If you’re in a boat accident or something like that, you may not have an option as far a grabbing one,” said Erika Billerbeck, DNR conservation officer.

Billerbeck and her team want boaters to wear a life jacket, even though it isn't required for adults.

However, Iowa law does require a life jacket be within reach for every person on a boat.

“Every time we stop a boat, we go through and make sure they have all the safety equipment they need,” said Billerbeck. “Just really want to make sure they have what they need, to be safe out here.”

Lake officials are also warning lake-goers of debris like branches floating in the water.

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