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Video: Repeated searches prompt request to secure floating devices

Jul 25, 2020 06:37AM ● By Editor

Watch the WDIO_TV REport hree

Photo: WDIO-TV

By Alejandra Palacios of WDIO-TV -July 24, 2020 

With nice, sunny weather ahead many are probably thinking of going to the beach this weekend, but the Duluth Fire Department does want to remind the public to keep water safety in mind since they've noticed an uptick in water emergency calls.

Fire Captain Dan Smith said the calls are related to water crafts and floaties drifting away. They're reminding people to use them responsibly.

"Making sure your watercraft are secure, making sure floaties are secure because on a windy day like today stuff is going to blow away," said Smith.

"We do tend to warn them and say hey did you know you're getting blown down the beach or you're not quite where you started? If there's a good offshore wind we'll just go ahead and tell people to keep it close to shore," said Cheryl Podtburg, the safety & park point coordinator for Duluth Area YMCA.

Life guards have noted the issue with floaties too and said it's easy to get blown away and it can turn into a dangerous situation. Podtburg said it's important to keep an eye on your floaties.

"If you do choose to bring one make sure that you are bringing some life jackets and going with friends," said Podtburg.

Life guards have been back at Park Point for a few weeks and said they've noted more people in the water with the lake temps being unusually warm this year. This is why they also remind folks to keep an eye on their beach crew and the people around them, especially kids.

"Parents put the book down, put the phone down. The CDC says the number one injury related death to children is drowning," said Smith.

"The best thing to do is always swim where the lifeguards are, people have a much higher chance of surviving any type of water emergency if they are in an area where lifeguards are present. If you see a lifeguard that's the best place to be, which is right here at the Park Point Beach House," said Podtburg.

A recommended resource to check water and wind conditions is

"Lake Superior is a pretty powerful creature so just make sure you are watching the rip currents flags and keeping the offshore winds in mind. We've had folks blow out in the lake that we've definitely had to go rescue them," said Smith.

To watch the original story and see related reporting, follow this link to the WDIO-TV website.  

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