Life-saving winter coat displayed - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Life-saving winter coat displayed

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

Despite chilly temperatures, nearby waterways are not freezing just yet.

Most lakes and ponds will freeze by the end of the month.

That's why fishermen need to be cautious.

Local fishermen are reminding people about a life-saving winter coat that could keep you from drowning.

It looks like any other winter coat when you put it on, but trapped air in the fabric will not only keep you warm, it'll also keep you afloat if you fall in water.

"We've had three customers with the float suit who have said it came in and saved their lives," Hanks Live Bait owner, Mike Everett said.

Mike says he stands by all winter coats after losing fishing friend Wade Clark at George Wyth Lake.

"Wade did not have a suit. We don't know if it would have saved his life, but that's a question we always ask ourselves. Maybe he could have gotten out," Everett said.

Fisherman Greg Dietz was at George Wyth the same day, and now he always wears a Striker coat when fishing.

"And, the fog hadn't set in yet, and that was the reason the ranger couldn't find him. He heard him, but he couldn't find him," Dietz said.

No matter how well you swim, experts say a quick zip and a few snaps could save your life.

"Usually it hits you in two stages. Number one, you don't undertaand why you're falling. Number two, that cold water hits so hard it instantly puts you in a state of shock and panic," Everett said.

As a reminder, pants are also available for fishermen. 

According to the DNR, nobody should be out on ice unless it's at least four inches thick.

On average, five people die every winter due to falling through ice during the winter in the United States.


 

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