Busy July Fourth expected on Lake Cumberland; officials urge safety

SOMERSET, Ky. (WKYT) - Lake Cumberland is about 40 feet deeper than it was several years ago and that could mean boaters may run into more debris alongside the shores.

"We want people to not be complacent and keep an eye out. Watch what they're doing." says Ashley Glyn-Jones, a ranger with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Glyn-Jones says far too often people have ignored easy, common sense safety precautions when out on the water.

"Kids twelve and under are required to have a life jacket on," she said.

They say adults should always have one on or within easy each.

"We ask that you wear them, if you don't have them on it doesn't work," said Ranger Marshall Jennings.

Some of the newer life jackets are less cumbersome and easy to put on.

Some can be manually inflated and others are hyrdostatic, which means they inflate upon sensing water pressure.

305 people have drowned in Lake Cumberland since it was formed in 1952. 304 of them were not wearing life jackets. Even experienced swimmers are not immune.

"Surprisingly, 60% of all drownings are witnessed. People are around. It happens so quick to loved ones and friends," said Glyn-Jones.

Rangers suggest a safety checklist before heading out.

"A cushion or something to throw if someone gets in trouble. A sound producing device, a fire extinguisher," said Jennings.

Common sense measures that officials say will assure a fun weekend and not ending in tragedy.

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