Boating News from Iowa and the Midwest - Wearing your life jacket.

Iowa – As of May 2009 Iowa made wearing a safety vest for those boaters under age 13 mandatory. There is an exemption for commercial boats with a capacity of 25 people or more or while in an enclosed cabin and below deck.

Omaha, Nebraska – Two women were being pulled on an inner tube behind a boat and one died when the inner tube was whipped around on a turn and struck a dock. This accident occurred in Douglas County on West Shores Lake. The women injured were Jennifer Dwyer (30) and Kimberly Spangler (29). Todd Spangler (30) the boat operator was reportedly cited for suspicion of a BUI. (Boating under the influence.)  This was certainly a tragedy and one in which a day of fun turns into a lifetime of heartache and painful memories. Both women needed to be flown to an area hospital where Dwyer died. There is no indication of whether she died of head injuries or spinal injuries.  From a legal standpoint there are many issues we can’t discuss but operator error is certainly an issue along with those being pulled watching out and dropping when danger approaches. Of course being whipped around makes it difficult to see what is coming. Drinking alcohol and driving never helps or contributes to a safe boat outing.

Ogollala, Nebraska – Three people were injured and another killed when a mechanical problem cause a speed boat to flip and roll. The boat broke apart causing all passengers to be ejected. A Colorado man was killed. The other passengers were his wife and two children ages 15 and 9. The family is from Parker, Colorado a suburb of Denver.

Missouri -  See what it’s like to patrol the waters in Missouri with the state water patrol. Officially they are called the Missouri State Water Patrol.

Water Safety with the Red Cross - The American Red Cross offers these tips:


- Always wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket when boating and fishing. Close to 80 percent of boating fatalities in the U.S. are caused by drowning.

- Alcohol and boating don’t mix. More than 50 percent of drownings from boating accidents involve alcohol.

- Develop a float plan. Anytime you go out in a boat, give a responsible person details about where you will be and how long you will be gone.

- Know weather conditions and prepare for an electrical storm. Because water conducts electricity it is wise to stop swimming or boating as soon as you see or hear a storm.

- Carry basic safety equipment — life jackets, a throwable personal flotation device, tow line, extra paddle, a bailing device, distress signal, fire extinguisher and first aid kit.

Source: American Red Cross

Steve Lombardi
Iowa personal injury, workers' compensation, motorcycle, quadriplegic, paraplegic, brain injury, death
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