Now this is timely.
According to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources' website, four people are missing and eight people were injured following a boating collision early Saturday morning near Burlington.
The collision occurred between two jon boats, one with a single passenger and the other carrying 11 people, in the O'Connell Slough area of the Mississippi River near Burlington. The call for rescue personnel came in at 1:43 a.m. The Des Moines County Sheriff's Department, the Burlington Police Department, the Burlington Fire Department and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources responded to the call.
One of the people injured was air-lifted to University Hospitals in Iowa City while the other seven were transported to Great River Medical Center in Burlington.
The names of the missing and injured people are being withheld until notifications are made with family members.
This was nothing short of a major tragedy - a tragedy that occurred on the first day of National Safe Boating Week, May 19-25.
While it's fun, boating is also inherently fraught with hazards. Compounding the possibility of drowning are weather, lack of safety equipment such as life preservers, alcohol, collisions with other boats and operator inexperience. Any one of these things could turn a leisure cruise into a tragedy.
What's so sad is that most boating accidents can be prevented by using a little common sense and having a good, healthy fear of the water.
So following are some tips:
n Listen to the weather reports. Just a few years ago, a boy drowned on Storm Lake when a sudden storm came up, throwing him from his inflatable boat.
n Wear a life preserver. Even experienced swimmers may have a hard time swimming to shore if a boat is a long way out.
n Make sure your boat is in good repair and you have plenty of fuel.
n Boating and alcohol don't mix. Don't overconsume alcohol when you're out on the water. The results could be catastrophic.
n Use common courtesy. That means giving sailcraft the right of way and avoiding catching swimmers in your wake.
Using a little common sense and common courtesy can help prevent a boating tragedy.
So please. Be careful and be safe.