PARKE COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - Raccoon Lake is filled with boaters this weekend, looking to have some fun.
However, it's a busy job for conservation officers.
"The summer months, generally our officers focus is going to be on the water, you're going to see all of our officers out on the lakes," Indiana Conservation Officer Chris Springstun said.
During the busy season, they cover the water 24 hours a day.
That's because the fun can take a turn for the worst, fast.
Indiana Conservation Officers worked 35 drownings so far this year, eight of them children.
"Even if your child is a very good swimmer, it doesn't matter how good of a swimmer you are, when you get fatigued or you get tired is whenever we have issues," Officer Springstun said.
Their biggest advice is to wear a life jacket.
The law requires boats to have enough life jackets for all passengers.
However, officers say instead of just having it, they'd like to see you with it on.
"We'd like to see people wear their jacket at all times, especially 13 and under," he said.
It's a lesson that Justin Stewart learned from experience after hurting his arm in a wake boarding accident.
"Wearing that was a great idea in that situation because if I hadn't been wearing it, I'm sure I'd probably be sinking because I was in a lot of pain, and I really needed something to keep me up in the water, and that life jacket did a great job keeping me up," Stewart said.
It's a scary situation that officers say, can happen to you, if you're not careful.
"Be safe, you know, use your head out there," Stewart said.
This year's 'Operation Dry Water' focusing on preventing drinking and boating, along with their routine patrol stops, will hopefully reduce deaths.
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