Keeping safe in the water this summer

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From rivers to quarries to creeks, it seems water rescues go hand-in-hand with nice weather days. (WPVI)

From rivers to quarries to creeks, it seems water rescues go hand-in-hand with nice weather.

Action News was in Frenchtown, New Jersey, where the New Jersey State Police are continuing their efforts on the Delaware River to keep people safe for the remainder of the summer.

Jacqueline Humphreys and Glenn Balent of Croydon had their coolers packed and the tubes blown up for a lazy day floating down the river with family.

"With the rain and all, I was concerned about the current this morning but it's beautiful," said Balent. "Not a cloud. This is perfect."

"When you're looking at it right now it looks pretty calm, and it's flat," said Bob Conger of Jacobstown, N.J. as he looked out at the river. "But there's low spots, there's a lot of rocks hidden branches trees that are underwater."

"It's very, very deceiving, the currents," said New Jersey State Police Sgt. Karl Brbost.

Brobst is the field training officer for the state police marine unit. He served 30 years with the Coast Guard reserves.

After a string of recent drownings along the river - in mid-July he personally recovered three victims in three days - he's reminding everyone who uses the Delaware River for recreation to put on a life jacket.

"Lifejackets are the most important piece of equipment you're going to have," he told Action News. "Life jackets are the most important piece of equipment to wear."

"I respect the water, and even though it doesn't make sense, drowning is always in the back of my mind," said Annmarie Winkis of Northeast Philadelphia. "So when we feel unsafe, we always make sure we have our lifejackets on."

"They're not very comfortable and we don't always wear them like we should," admitted Dave Bryson of Ewing, N.J.

Sgt. Brobst said in many cases people who are good swimmers or have experience with the river develop a false sense of security or just don't want to put a life vest on.

202. Brobst
"They are hot. They're cumbersome," he said. "People don't want to wear them. They are uncomfortable. By the time you realize you need the lifejacket, it's often too late."

If a kayak tips in turbulent water or you fall out of a tube or a boat, Brobst says, even experienced people panic.

So his recommendation is to zip up, strap in and be safe.

"You can't let your caution down," said Balent. "I got my kids with me, she has her kids with her. Everything is fine. We'll be strapped up together. The youngest one has a life jacket on."

Related Topics:
waterdelaware rivern.j. newsNew Jersey
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