Amid slew of drowning deaths on Arizona lakes, deputies have advice: Wear a life jacket

Amid six straight weekends of deaths and apparent drownings on Maricopa County lakes, deputies are speaking out about staying safe on the water.

Deputies say that most of these deaths were preventable.

"It’s definitely a hot topic, just with the things that have been happening the last few weeks," said Adam Smith with MCSO. "But it’s just a matter of people paying attention, and don’t drink and drive."

The sheriff's office is set up with a DUI van, patrolling the water at one of the busiest lakes in Arizona on one of the busiest boating weekends of the year.

Six deaths on Lake Pleasant have been reported the last six weekends in a row. The Coast Guard says four out of those six deaths could have been prevented if life jackets were a factor.

Deputies released a video on Twitter warning visitors against using tubes, advising the public to opt for life vests instead.

"This is not a life saving device," said Detective Rob Marske, holding up a tube. "This is a toy meant for your pool and your backyard."

It's a message boater Amy Teske takes to heart.

"Even though they're good swimmers…you can't trust these waters, so you have to keep the kids safe at all times," Teske said.

In Arizona, children 12 and under are required to wear life jackets, but they're recommended for everyone. Teske has seen people break the rules regularly.

"All the time out here," Teske said. "I've seen people get in boats and then strip the vests off right away."

With the amount of people on the water this weekend, boaters have to be hyper vigilant.

"There’s definitely people zipping around without looking, and they’re just giving us all a bad name," said another boater. "We’re just out here trying to have fun and keep it safe and have a good Memorial Day weekend."

Related news