Columbia Basin Dive Rescue reports zero drownings this year - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Columbia Basin Dive Rescue reports zero drownings this year

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KENNEWICK, WA - Like putting on a seat belt when you get in a car, Columbia Basin Dive Rescue's Scott Ruppelius says anyone on a boat - or in the water - should be wearing a life vest...even if it doesn't seem like the "cool" thing to do.

"If you're going to be an adult jumping in the water, put a life jacket on too," Ruppelius said. "It's not embarrassing, put a life jacket on and float out there like a buoy on the water."

Thankfully, he thinks people are finally starting to pay attention. In 2015 they responded to about a dozen drownings in the Tri-Cities and Columbia Basin area.

This year, none.

"We've had a life jacket wearing awareness campaign since I've been on the team for 16 years now, and we've taught it in the schools and people are brought up with that and it's really been drilled into them so I think that over all has helped," said Ruppelius.

But while things have been calm on the water so far this summer, this weekend's Water Follies could create challenges...especially when it comes to drinking and boating.

Something he says can be even more dangerous thank drinking and driving.

"I don't think they realize how dangerous it can be. I mean, there's no brakes on boats. They're harder to control simply because there's one motor that pushes you from behind for the most part. "

So if you are heading out on the water and don't have a life jacket, you can take advantage of the free loaner jacket stations across the state.

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