With more people visiting the area for recreation comes more potential for accidents.
After multiple accidents and drownings reported in the area, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Coeur d’Alene Flotilla 84 visited the city of Harrison Saturday, July 17, to give a lesson on water and boating safety.
The group wanted to address safety in the area after an incident on the Coeur d’Alene River resulted in the death of Kevin L. Walker of Kellogg. Walker was reported missing July 10 after jumping into the CDA River from his boat without a life jacket. At the time of this report, the investigation and autopsy are pending.
“We lost a good member of the Kellogg community,” Flotilla 84 Commander Steve Bilte said. “After hearing about incidents in the area, we were told by the Seattle Coast Guard that we needed to get out here.”
He said the incident with Walker was not the first in the area, as another boating involved accident had occurred on Lake Pend Oreille earlier in the month.
“We really need to stress safety on boats,” Commander Bilte said. “This event is for ensuring just that and we don’t want to see anymore accidents.”
Commander Bilte said the response from the Harrison community was excellent. The Coast Guard Auxiliary handed out fliers about water safety, talked about how to properly wear a life jacket, and proper safety when operating a watercraft.
“We had 75 to 100 people out there, we did 28 boat inspections and got 20 life jackets on little kids,” he said. “It was amazing how well received it was by the community.”
Coast Guard Flotilla 84 and the city of Harrison collaborated to put on the lesson, having advertised the event and put fliers in P.O. Boxes of residents.
Commander Bilte said the event was such a success that they plan to have another event in August.
“There were more out-of-staters there than locals, but everyone who came was unbelievably friendly,” Commander Bilte said. “It was a beautiful place to have it. The little kids we fitted for life jackets were fantastic and the parents were really nice.”
He said the Flotilla wants to host an additional event in St. Maries this year as well. For more information contact Flotilla 84 at 509-599-8705.