Be Safe Out There

     It can happen before you know what happened.  One second you are sitting upright in a canoe nice and dry and the next thing you know you’re sucking in a long drag of ice cold water down into your lungs.  You sputter and surface quickly while your body temperature drops instantly from the freezing cold water all around you.  You look around for your companion with no luck in locating him, your stomach rolls over as you remember he wasn’t wearing a life vest.  Shore isn’t too far away and your brain is telling you to swim for help.  Your water logged clothing and boots are weighting you down and your legs and arms begin to feel like they are made of cement.  You can’t keep swimming but shore is right there, help is there.  Those are your last thoughts before you slip into unconsciousness.

     The next thing you know you are in an ambulance being rushed to a hospital.  You remember your friend and your heart sinks.  What will you tell his wife and kids?  A week later they finally find his body so there can finally be a funeral.

     This happens all over the United States and the sad fact is these deaths can be avoided by one simple thing, WEARING A LIFE VEST!  Just WEAR IT. 

Angler falls from canoe and drowns in Fawn Lake

A 20-year-old Rice man drowned after the canoe he and another man were in overturned Saturday on Fawn Lake near Crosslake, the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Department.

Timothy R. Maehren and Joshua A. Seehusen were making their first trip of the season onto the 73-acre lake, located just southwest of Crosslake, and were fishing for panfish when their canoe flipped, Sheriff’s Sgt. Scott Goddard, Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Boat and Water supervisor, said.

Seehusen was able to make it to shore and call for help. Maehren went under the water and did not surface, the sheriff’s department reported.

Law enforcement was notified that Maehren was missing at 3:36 p.m. The Crow Wing County Dive Team located Maehren about 30 yards from shore in 17 feet of water.

Goddard said ice was off the lake but the water temperature was about 40 degrees.

Goddard said it wasn’t immediately known why the canoe overturned but neither Maehren or Seehusen were wearing life jackets. One of the men’s families had a seasonal home on the lake, Goddard said.

The Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Department is reminding the public that at this time of year water temperature is extremely cold – a person will lose body heat 25 times faster in water than by air.

"Just be careful, be cautious," Sheriff Todd Dahl said. "It doesn’t take very long when you’re in the water for you to get very cold and lose all control over your faculties."

The sheriff’s department also urged people venturing onto lakes to wear a life jacket and to stay with the watercraft if it does capsize or overturn.

Goddard said the bow of the canoe Maehren and Seehusen were using was still out of the water when law enforcement arrived at Fawn Lake.

"It’s a gamble to swim away from the watercraft," Goddard said. "You’re better off to stay with it so you can keep afloat."