DIGITAL EXCLUSIVE: Water rescues up this year

Digital Exclusive

One of the highlights of living by a lake is all the water fun to be had in the summertime. Although this summer has seen quite a few water rescues.

“A lot different than years in the past I believe due to the ongoing issue with COVID. There’s more people purchasing personal water crafts, and boats, kayaks which leads to a busier season on the water. Specifically in our area on the east side, it has been a little busier than normal,” said Jeff Haryliw, Fairfield Hose Company chief.

Hawryliw says the number of rescues is up this summer.

“We’ve had, in just the last month, we’ve had five which is very unusual for this side of the town,” said Hawryliw.

Across the region, rescues are up. Some areas are seeing more than others.

“West side assets, Lake City and Lakeshore, they’re about average for the summer. Central would be Erie Fire and Westlake, they’re above average. And then us on the east side, we are also above average. We basically attribute that to COVID-19,” said Chris Skrekla, Fuller Hose Water Rescue Lieutenant.

When you’re going out on the lake on a kayak, jet ski or a boat, make sure to always have a float plan, let someone know where you’re going and when you’ll be back, and always make sure to wear a life jacket.

“We definitely want to see everybody wearing a life jacket all the time, regardless of your ability to swim. I’m not here to question how well you can swim. It’s just good for us for identification purposes. And it’s just going to keep you safe until we get there,” said Skrekla.

Coast Guard Station Erie is in charge of the lake and rescues. Organizations like Fuller Hose and Fairfield support in the missions to keep you safe.

“Fuller Hose works simultaneously with Coast Guard Station Erie. Coast Guard Station Erie is the authority having jurisdiction over Lake Erie, and then us, Fairfield, Westlake, Lake City, Lakeshore, we all assist the coast guard with those water type emergencies,” said Skrekla.

Water activities are always fun, but make sure you stay safe this summer.

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