Each year, lake tourism ramps up with Memorial Day Weekend. Annually, Lake Shelbyville sees about 200,000 visitors including campers, boaters, hikers, and swimmers. Throughout the summer season, the volume of traffic to the emergency room rises because of accidents on the lake, some of which are from boating.
HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital is interested in the well-being and health of our community and visitors. Because of this, the hospital has teamed up with the Shelby County Dive Team to share some timely reminders about boat safety.
Please be cautious with alcohol. Even though you are on the water, you may still be ticketed for driving while intoxicated. Many times alcohol is a factor in boating accidents.
Make certain that you have a personal floatation device, life jackets, or life vests for every person on your boat and that the jackets are Coast Guard approved.
The U.S. Army Corp. of Engineers have some life jackets available at the boat ramps and at the Lake Shelbyville Visitors’ Center, which is located on East Route 16 just east of the main dam.
Know the state of the lake. Is the water at high, low or normal stage?
Know where you are at and understand your landmarks so that you may clearly communicate your location should you need help.
Boat launches may be slick especially with a rapid change in water level. Be careful when you walk on them.
Know the rules of the waterways.
Understand how to engage another boat and what channel markers mean.
Reduce your speed at night or in times of low visibility.
Shelby County Dive Team Commander Austin Pritchard remarked, “Wearing you own personal floatation device is very important. Wearing a device is one of the most important things you can do for your safety. I have yet to pull a person from the lake who was wearing their life vest that didn’t survive.”
Pritchard continued, “At this time of year because of the excessive rain, we have very high water level on our lake. We may have more debris floating than normal and the shoreline has changed. The lake levels are ever-changing and I would advise you to use the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers phone line for up-to-date information. That number is (217) 774-2020.”
“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Lake Shelbyville would like to remind everyone the importance of wearing a life jacket while boating,” said Ashley Florey, Natural Resources Specialist, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, Lake Shelbyville Project. “Accidents on the water can happen much too fast to reach and put on a stowed life jacket. Drowning is the reported cause of death in three-forths of all boating fatalities while 85 percent of drowning victims in recreational boating accidents were not wearing a life jacket.”
“We have a beautiful lake, several wonderful parks and campgrounds for our community and visitors to enjoy,” said HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital Emergency Manager Sheli Evans, “However, we also see people in our emergency room from terrible accidents on the lake. We are happy to help in these emergencies, but we are also hopeful that by reminding people of these safety tips, they will be able to enjoy their time on our lake without being hurt.”
About HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital
Since its inception in 1916, HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital in Shelbyville (GSS) has been dedicated to excellence in healthcare for those living and visiting their communities. GSS has accomplished this by providing comprehensive health services and meeting the needs of patients served through their compassionate care, business integrity and community responsibility. GSS provides a 24/7 emergency department that is fully staffed by physicians and highly-trained nurses, and also features inpatient and outpatient services, including a 24-hour laboratory and an imaging department that meets today’s highest standards for diagnostic imaging technology. GSS has an advanced surgery department and an acute inpatient care unit. Dedicated to being a hometown hospital, GSS’ home health and rehabilitation departments are committed to excellence with a team of professional nurses and therapists providing a variety of medical services and rehabilitative therapies, all designed to help patients heal in their own environment. The group of visiting specialists in the outpatient clinic works closely with GSS to help keep the healthcare services local even if a specialized procedure or exam is required. GSS strives to be the first choice for the community’s healthcare needs. For more information about HSHS Good Shepherd Hospital, visit www.hshsgoodshepherd.org.
About Hospital Sisters Health System
Hospital Sisters Health System’s (HSHS) mission is to reveal and embody Christ’s healing love for all people through our high-quality Franciscan health care ministry. HSHS provides state-of-the-art health care to our patients and is dedicated to serving all people, especially the most vulnerable, at each of our 15 local systems and physician practices in Illinois (Belleville, Breese, Decatur, Effingham, Greenville, Highland, Litchfield, Shelbyville and Springfield) and Wisconsin (Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Oconto Falls, Sheboygan and two in Green Bay). HSHS is sponsored by Hospital Sisters Ministries, and Hospital Sisters of St. Francis is the founding institute. For more information about HSHS, visit www.hshs.org. For more information about Hospital Sisters of St. Francis, visitwww.hospitalsisters.org.