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Rising waters make boating on local rivers dangerous

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The river can cause plenty of problems when it is out of its banks but flood waters can be just as risky for boaters on the river.

Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer Anthony Petreikis says high waters make everyday issues like debris an even bigger danger.

“You are going to have all the same hidden obstacles under the water.”  Petreikis says, “They don’t disappear just because the water is high.”

The muddy waters can actually make debris harder to spot.

Tom Unley of Unley Marina was on the river today to test motors on boats.  He says obstacles in the water were everywhere.

“They were good size trees and a lot of small short stumps,” Unley says.  “There is a lot of stuff that a boater can run in to.  There is just no good path.”

The debris isn’t the only issue.  Open locks and dams cause the high waters to move faster and just like debris, strong currents can cause the surprise.

“They jump out of the boat thinking they are going for a quick swim but next thing they know, they are 50 yards away from the boat,” Petreikis says.

The Mississippi River in our area is still open to boaters and traffic.  Boaters are advised to take extra caution if planning to head to the river this weekend.