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Troubled Waters

By Madonna Mantione,


HANOVER TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU)— Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer.

It’s a time when many of us have fun in the sun with water-related activities.

It’s also a time when local first responders need to be prepared to save lives.

“We have two boats, and the reason we have two boats is mainly because of the river,” said Chief Joe Temarantz from the Hanover Township Fire Department.

The Hanover Township Fire Department responded to 15 water rescue calls last year.

Chief Joe Temarantz says the most frequent and the most fearful happen on the Susquehanna River.

“Usually, the outcome is not very good when someone’s in the river because of the undercurrent and because they just don’t understand the way the river runs,” added Chief Temarantz.

The fire department has about a dozen certified members on its water rescue team.

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They are trained and equipped with all the tools they need to save lives, with the help of mutual aid.

“It’s crucial. fortunately, the departments that we work with, all understand the incident command system and how it works, so it’s not a free-for-all, if you will. for us here too, we have a boat launch that we can get to in a reasonable amount of time,” explained Chief Temarantz.

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission says safety is the most important consideration in any boating activity.

“We want people to know that before you purchase that kayak or that paddleboard and you head out onto the water, make sure that your skill level matches the water that you’re going boating on,” says Mike Parker the Communications Director of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

Parker says knowing what to expect on the water, and using the right equipment, is the best start for success.

“Folks will pick up a kayak at the hardware store or Walmart for a couple hundred bucks and within hours they’re out on the water for the very first time. They had no idea they’d be out there competing with powerboats or that there might be fast water in some spots of the creek or the dam or some sort of obstruction on another part, and all of a sudden that fun activity becomes very stressful and dangerous,” continued Parker.

Chief Temarantz says the simple act of wearing a personal flotation device that fits properly could mean the difference between life and death.

“That’s your lifesaver,” added Chief Temarantz

The law requires you to have one personal flotation device on board for every person on your boat.

Statistics show about eight out of every 10 boating fatality victims were not wearing personal flotation devices.

Tune in Sunday for part two of “Troubled Waters” here on Eyewitness News.

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