Officials urge caution on lakes, rivers ahead of holiday weekend

Several water rescues have happened across Southwest Virginia recently

GLASGOW, Va. – Knowing how to get yourself situated in a kayak or canoe is an important step in the process of preparing to safely have some fun in the sun.

Safety is perhaps even more important right now.

“Just a few weeks ago, unfortunately we had a loss of life on this section (of the James River),” said Water Safety Educator Travis Overstreet as he gave a boat demo to some novice boaters at the Glasgow Boat Landing Friday.

There have also been several water rescues recently across Southwest Virginia.

“Stay away from alcohol on the water and check the water levels because people come out when we’ve had a lot of rain, which we’ve had recently, and they are getting in above their heads,” Overstreet said.

He said being safe on the water is not just for safety’s sake. It’s also a way to make sure everyone gets to enjoy their time on the water.

“If we see somebody having a hard time, getting pinned or swimming, of course we’re going to stop what we’re doing and go help them because we are trying to do this. But, at the same time we are out here do you have a good time also and we have to stop what we’re doing and our enjoying the day turns into some type of recovery,” Overstreet explained.

”One thing I learned about being by water period is it brings that peace that you can’t find anywhere else,” Edward Loftin said when asked why he wanted to participate in Friday’s boat demo.

Loftin was excited to get his first paddling experience Friday and was glad to have Travis by his side.

“Sometimes we have to step out of our comfort zone and try new things,” said Loftin.

Boat safety educators just ask if you try new things, do so safely.