NC Wildlife officials issue water safety warnings following 10 deaths in 2018

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State Wildlife Resources Commission is issuing new water warnings. (WTVD)

On Friday, people flocked to Falls Lake to take in the warm weather and sunny skies.

"It's one of the beautiful days of the year, and got the point out of Winterization and storage and decided we needed to throw it in," said Adam Peterik, who was out with his wife and three young children.

Even on the dock, Peterik made sure his children were wearing life vests.

"We want to make sure that it's comfortable for them, but also safe for them. We also have many extra life vests with us, for adults and for others. It's always good to have a good tow rope too. I've been stuck out on the lake a couple of times, and so it's always good to have a good tow rope that if you do get out and somebody can come drag you back to shore," explained Peterik.

Around the docks - even painted on the ground - are reminders for people to wear life vests.

"Ninety percent of our fatalities could be prevented if they were wearing a life jacket," North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission Officer Hannah Shively explained.

According to data provided by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, in 2017, there were 13 fatalities on the water, 12 of which involved victims not wearing a life vest.

Of those 13 cases, 10 were as a result of drowning, and two involved alcohol.

In 2018, there have already been 10 deaths, with six cases involving a victim not wearing a life jacket. Nine of those fatalities were as a result of drowning, and two involved alcohol.

Officials said if you see someone in distress, try and throw an object towards them, whether it's a stick, fishing pole, cooler, or life jacket, to pull them to safety.

Traffic is another common issue on the water.

"I think there needs to be a lot more education for boating. A lot of people try to run too fast, too close to each other," said Sean Stegall, who was out Friday with family and friends.

A list of buoys and markers are posted along the water at Falls Lake for people to familiarize themselves with.

Officer Shively said that anyone born on or after January 1, 1988, who operates a vessel that goes 10 horsepower or more on the water, must complete a boating safety course.

To learn more about the course, click here .

Wildlife officials encourage people to stay sober when in or near water. If you do choose to drink, they say to be aware of natural stressors such as the water and sun and to always have a designated driver.
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