DNR gives warnings ahead of one of the busiest weekends on Geist Reservoir

July 4 on Geist Reservoir

GEIST, Ind. (WISH) — The Indiana Department of Natural Resources says they anticipate two to three times the amount of people as normal to be on the water at Geist Reservoir this weekend.

That increase alone can raise the risk for something dangerous happening. That is why DNR is reminding everyone of some important safety tips this Fourth of July weekend.

DNR is adding extra patrols on the water in response to the number of boats that will be out.

“On Geist we are probably going to have the busiest weekend of the entire boating season,” said conservation officer Scott McDaniel with DNR.

They say with the increased number of people on the water they anticipate more issues than normal.

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“We are going to have a lot more pressure and what that means on the water is people probably need to go a little bit slower,” McDaniel explained.

Therese Heiden and her family boat on Geist often.

“We all have our life jackets accessible. We are not always wearing them, but every time we are in the water we have them on or for tubing we have them on,” Heiden said.

The Heiden family is extra careful on weekends like this.

“One Memorial Day it was super busy out and we were tubing and it was extra wavy and I broke my collar bone so that was a fun experience,” Heiden explained.

When driving a boat on the busy water McDaniel said you not only need to look out for yourself but other boats as well.

“It is not uncommon to have one or two boat accidents a month out here on this lake,” explained McDaniel. That is why he says it’s important everyone on board has a life jacket close by.

“If you are not wearing a life jacket, even if you’re ordinarily a good swimmer, if you have got a broken arm, a broken leg, you have got seconds for someone to get you out of the water before tragedy can strike,” he said.

While you celebrate, make sure the captain can get you back to shore safely.

“Operating a motor boat on state water ways under the influence of alcohol at the same threshold which would be .08 on your BAC would have the same consequences as operating a motor vehicle on the roadway,” said McDaniel.

DNR says one of the biggest mistakes people make on the water is not having one size appropriate life jacket available for every passenger on the boat.