Ponds, lakes and streams are full of hidden dangers

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Almost any water -- from your bathtub to an ocean -- can be dangerous. The Southeast Missourian frequently -- too frequently, really -- reports about mishaps in area ponds, lakes and rivers.

Some of these water-related accidents result in the deaths of the individuals involved. In a few cases, drinking alcoholic beverages while operating a boat is the cause of the tragedy. In other cases, boaters who can't swim don't use required flotation devices. On still other occasions, children don't receive proper supervision from adults.

Over time, any of these failures can result in emotional calamities.

But even careful and experienced individuals who have worked and played on and in the water for years occasionally are victims of the powerful forces in a stream or river. Two fishermen who have made weekly trips on the Mississippi River looking for catfish recently found their johnboat swamped. One of the fishermen was rescued. The other drowned.

Water is a tremendous magnet for fishing and recreation. But never underestimate the potential dangers of water, especially moving water.

That's why there are so many warnings in stormy weather about flash flooding on streets and highways. Water that isn't very deep can be deadly if it is runoff from a hard rain.

Please be careful when you are around water. And please take extra precautions when you or your loved ones are near the Mississippi River. It's a beautiful river, but its dangers are not to be ignored.

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