LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Arkansas boating related death numbers have already reached the total numbers from 2012.
So far, nine people have died on Arkansas waters this year with eight drowning deaths. The two most recent drownings occurred Saturday at Greers Ferry Lake, when a brother jumped in to save his sister and their boat drifted away. Rescuers located the bodies at the bottom of the lake late Monday evening.
Game and fish officials said of the eight drowning deaths, seven could have been saved by a life jacket. The eighth victim was wearing an inflatable vest, but was unconscious when they fell into the water.
"A life preserver in your locker well's not gonna save your life. You've got to have it on. That is so important." said Lake Maumelle's Jolly Roger's Marina owner Roger Nesuda, who has seen a lot of tradgedy in his 30 years there.
Estimates show more than 500,000 boaters will travel Arkansas' lakes and rivers this year.
"For the most part, there's a fatality every year, and I wanna make sure my family is not one of those fatalities," added Denver Griffin, who just bought his first sailboat on Lake Maumelle and plans to make his three children wear a life vest when they're on the water. "I think just taking those extra precautions you're probably a step ahead of the ballgame in hopeful prevention of those issues."