CLEAR LAKE, Iowa - It only takes a moment for fun out on the lake to turn deadly. On Tuesday afternoon, a 14-year-old died in a jet ski accident on Clear Lake.
It can be easy to think piloting a boat or jet ski is as easy as driving a car, but there are a lot of different dynamics at play in the water, which is why safe boating practices are essential.
"There's always an accident here and there and it's always a terrible tragedy," said Jim Flick, owner of Movement Solutions. His company rents boats out on Clear Lake.
The chance for tragedy increases when the lakes fill up with boats over the summer.
"We've seen a crazy amount of traffic on the water this year," said Flick.
Flick tells KIMT News 3 he gives his customers safety briefings both in the office and at the dock. He says boaters need to keep it slow and keep an eye out for traffic on the lake.
"When you're approaching a boat head on, everybody is supposed to veer to the right. That's one thing on the river you'll find is super easy and on the large, large bodies of water. But when you get a small body of water like this and there's so many boats in so many different directions, I see that one going away a lot."
Another overlooked safety rule is a boat's capacity. Flick says never overload your watercraft.
"When you see some of these people really overloading some of these boats, they don't realize they could possibly nose dive that boat totally under water. They could in an instant have twelve people swimming around trying to find a life jacket."
While having enough life jackets is a good idea, Flick recommends making sure you have the right sizes for everyone on board.
"Why take the chance? Spend the extra 40 bucks buy the life jacket that fits you comfortably and fits you right and keeps people safe."
Flick also recommends reading up on boating laws in your state before you head out on the water.