High water on Mississippi River leads to dangerous currents

NEW ORLEANS – The Coast Guard urges boaters going out on the Lower Mississippi River to understand the risks associated with high water and strong currents.

Higher than average water levels create very strong and swift currents, which result in large amounts of debris, and can lead to dangerous situations on the Mississippi River.

The stronger than normal currents can create rips and eddies in places where they might not have been before, which can pull a boat or a person into a dangerous situation very quickly.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector New Orleans received a report at 8:51 a.m. of two boaters aboard a disabled recreational vessel, which was being pushed downriver by strong currents on the Lower Mississippi River.

Sector New Orleans, Coast Guard Station New Orleans and Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans worked with Sea Tow to rescue the two people from their vessel.

“This is an example of how quickly these currents can put people’s lives in danger,” said Commander Michael Wolfe a search and rescue mission coordinator at Sector New Orleans. “We urge boaters to understand the dangers of high water and avoid transiting the Lower Mississippi River if at all possible.”

Some simple safety measures boaters can take are to always wear a lifejacket when operating on or around the river, double-check required equipment such as visual and audio distress signals, personal flotation devices and a fire extinguisher are present and in working condition and never boat under the influence of alcohol.

For more safe boating information, please visit USCGBoating.org.


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