State NewsIndiana Conservation Officers have recorded a thirty percent decrease in the number of annual state drowning victims over the past 2 years when compared to the previous five years.

“Although the DNR Law Enforcement Division continues to encourage the use of life-jackets and promotes water safety messages such as Wear It and Operation Dry Water through various media and social media sites, the decrease in drownings is attributed to the fact that our citizens are applying good water safety practices”, said Lt. Larry Morrison, Outdoor Education Coordinator.

Indiana recorded 50 drowning deaths in 2010, 66 in 2011, 52 in 2012, 60 in 2013 and 54 in 2014.  The Law Enforcement Division recorded a decrease in 2015 to 43 drowning deaths and 37 to date in 2016.

“With the turning of the season quickly approaching, Indiana’s outdoor enthusiasts, waterfowl hunters and paddling sport citizens must remain focused on water safety techniques and practices”, said Major Terry Hyndman, Operations Commander.  “The colder water temperatures during fall and winter must also be prepared for by those who continue to recreate on or near waterways.”

To maintain safety on the water during the fall and winter months the following tips are offered:

-Always wear a U.S. Coast Guard Approved life Jacket when on or near waterways

-Dress in layers appropriate for the weather

-Remain aware of the changing weather patterns

-Carry a U.S. Coast Guard approved throwable device on board all watercraft

-Make a plan before you go

-Tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return

-Carry a survival kit and a first aid kit

“We hope that the trend in reduced drownings continue across the state of Indiana”, said Danny L. East, Law Enforcement Division Director.  “As our citizens become more aware of water safety concerns and prepare themselves well before recreating, we could see a decrease for many years to come.”