A potentially disastrous boating situation was alleviated due to a life jacket earlier this week, according to the Big Bear Municipal Water District’s Lake Supervisor Travis Carroll. On Sunday afternoon, Lake Patrol received a 911 call after a family had rented a fishing boat and, as both adults were on the same side of the vessel, they and their infant toppled out of the boat and into the lake. Carroll tells KBHR that a good samaritan dove into the lake to retrieve the young child, floating some distance away from his family. Lake Patrol staffer Tyler Cockrell was on scene within 30 seconds and, all told, nothing tragic happened. However, this incident prompts a reminder that, when boating, there must be a personal flotation device (or life jacket) for each person on board, and all children age 12 and under must be wearing a PFD at all times when boating; just-released U.S. Coast Guard statistics indicate that, in 2008, 90 percent of all victims in boating-related drownings were not wearing a life jacket. Young children can drown in as little as one inch of water, so parents are reminded to actively supervise children when at the lake. In the event of an emergency on the water, the MWD notes that saving a life is as easy as “reach, throw, row.” If someone is struggling in the water, “reach” your arm, belt, paddle, fishing pole or whatever is nearby, “throw” something inflatable to the swimmer, such as a beach ball, rope, plastic jug or foam cooler, and “row” your boat toward them. MWD asks that all those on Big Bear Lake are prepared, so learn to swim, never swim alone and, if boating, wear a life jacket.
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