Recent Drownings Worry Officials - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Recent Drownings Worry Officials

RICHLAND, Wash.- A recent string of drownings has dive rescue and Coast Guard officials worried that this year could be one of the worst in recent memory.

The rash of recent drownings have left many in the Columbia Basin grieving, and after the death of Anthony Powell over the weekend, officials are doing all they can to slow down this year's pace.

Rescue crews already count eleven water related deaths this summer, but they say there's no real reason for the recent flurry of activity.

"We've had some unfortunate events, every year it seems like it's about the same thing, you have a few accidents with vehicles, you have a few boating accidents, a few of them are swimming accidents," said Scott Pattison of Columbia Basis Dive Rescue. 

Authorities say most deaths can be prevented using a life jacket, but people tend to believe that life jackets are only for children.

"If we could just get our adults to begin wearing life jackets, we could cut out the drowning deaths, without exception," said John Umbargar of the U.S. Coast Guard. 

Aside from failing to wear a life jacket, people often get too comfortable in the water, swimming too far from shore, and staying close to shore isn't just a recommendation, it's illegal to swim more than 100 feet from shore.

Swimming too far out leaves you at risk to tiring and being unable to make it back.   It also leaves you at risk to being struck by a boat if you're in the traffic channel.

Even though some of the recent victims have been wearing life jackets, officials still warn that wearing a life jacket is the best thing to do.   97 percent of all drowning victims were not wearing a life jacket.

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