KFW Reminds Boaters to Wear Life Jacket After Weekend Drownings

May 26, 2015

Credit U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Wikimedia Commons

After a pair of weekend drownings on Lake Barkley, Kentucky Fish and Wildlife officials are stressing the importance of having a life jacket available while on the water. 

On Saturday, the bodies of 52-year-old Michael Bussell and his 13-year-old son NyDarion, both of Hopkinsville, were found in Lake Barkley. 

KFW Captain Garry Clark says neither were wearing a life jacket and that’s something he sees all too often.

“I’ve seen a lot of drownings in my career, the main thing is having a life jacket out, ready and accessible, and better yet wear it," said Clark. "Make sure children have theirs on. It doesn't matter how good a swimmer you think you are, because when you fall in and you hit your head and go unconscious, it will hold you up. We preach that every year but we always come up with drownings every year.” 

Clark says the KFW's Division of Law Enforcement issued fewer than usual citations over the rainy Memorial Day weekend, but the common violations continue to be not having a life jacket readily available.

"So many people we pull up to, they’ll have to open up a compartment, dig in it, sometimes they’ll have to move everything else out of the way, go through two or three more compartments," said Clark. "And if they needed something in a hurry, like somebody fell in and you need to throw them a life jacket, it could take them five minutes to find it."  

Clark says  other violations continue to be crafts without registration, fishing without a license and reckless boating.