7 deaths related to boating accidents this year, one search and rescue Wednesday
LITTLE ROCK (KATV) — Countless search and rescue efforts and seven fatalities in the state so far this year all related to boating accidents.The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission tells us all of these fatal accidents could have possibly been avoided had these boaters not made one simple mistake.It's so simple and many of us would look at this as common sense, but believe it or not every one of those boaters that died was not wearing a life jacket.It's just the beginning to a long season that runs through winter for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, people hitting the waters to fish or just enjoy themselves."We've had a very busy year this year already, we've had countless search and rescue operations, unfortunately some of those have actually ended up being search and recovery missions for us and that's the worst kind," AR Game and Fish Captain Stephanie Weatherington said.Wednesday morning, a search and rescue in Jefferson County resulted in one fisherman being brought back to shore. This after being reported missing Tuesday night around 8. Luckily, Joseph Freyer's motor had just died rather than being in a near drowning scenario."We've had a lot of rain recently in the state, waters are higher than they normally are, you've got faster currents, and you also have debris that isn't normally in the water and suddenly you find it there and that's an obstacle for your boat," Weatherington said.According to Weatherington, most of the deaths on the water this year are caused by boats capsizing or people going overboard. She adds the biggest mistake boaters make is not wearing a life jacket."The people aren't getting trapped under the boat, they're just finding themselves in the water and the first natural reaction is to take a big breath of air because you're shocked by being in the water, you suck in some water and down you go," she said.Weatherington added that even an Olympic swimmer can drown if they hit the waters unexpectedly, so don't' forget that life jacket.