But with boating-related deaths on the rise across Oregon, marine deputies want to remind you to always be safe and prepared for your day out on the water.
Jackson County Search and Rescue says there’s been 14 boating-related deaths across the state of Oregon; three of those were in Jackson County. That’s the highest, they say, in the last decade.
“Well, I’m a good swimmer. We’ll no not necessarily when you’re out there in the middle of the lake,” said Scott Macleod, a boater.
Macleod moved to Oregon 14 years ago and says he’s been tethered to his boat ever since.
But you’ll never catch him on the water unprepared.
“It’s going to save lives… throw cushions, extinguishers, you just never know,” he said. “I might not need it for me, but for somebody else.”
With boating-related deaths on the rise across Oregon, Jackson County Search and Rescue Sgt. Shawn Richards says safety should be a top priority.
“It’s been a long time since we had a smoke-free summer, knock on wood, so there may be more people out recreating,” he said.
In June, Sgt. Richards says two brothers drowned in Lost Creek Lake. Neither were wearing life jackets.
“It’s just an absolute tragedy,” he said.
Earlier this week, a man was pulled underwater by his boat’s anchor rope in Shady Cove. While the sheriff’s office says he was wearing an inflatable life jacket, it wasn’t inflated.
“We always suggest people on any kind of a current wear an inherently buoyant life jacket, so one that if you fall overboard you’re wearing it… there’s nothing you have to do to activate it or anything like that,” Sgt. Richards said.
There are other tips Sgt. Richards says could save your life:
A whistle is a great way to signal for help, always carry a fire extinguisher in case your boat catches fire, have a knife on hand to free you or your boat from any entanglement, and turn off your boat’s engine when you’re getting in and out.
“This year we’ve had one case where two people were lost in the northern end of the state due to carbon monoxide poisoning,” he said. “And they were simply riding at idle on the very back of the boat.”
As for the people we spoke with on the water… they all agree… being prepared is the best way to focus on the fun.
“If they have a life jacket… it’s going to save lives,” said Macleod.