Have you ever wondered what you would do if you needed immediate attention while boating on Geist? Residents within the community should be aware about what to do if ever they are in a crisis and suddenly need help. Depending on where your boat lies on Geist, you may either be in Marion County or Hamilton County. If your boat were to capsize, catch fire, or if one of its passengers experienced a medical issue, would you be able to explain your whereabouts to the dispatcher? Pinpointing the exact location of your boat with reference to the surrounding shoreline can be challenging, especially when you are in a hurry and every second counts.
“Through a partnership with Fishers Fire and Police Departments, we want to create a greater presence for enforcement and safety,” says Clint Crafton, Fishers Dive Team Commander. “This presence will allow everyone to have a fun and safe summer.”
The All New Geist Guardian
Although last year was the pilot program for establishing a presence, this year represents an increasing awareness for water safety — especially with the new Fishers Public Safety Boat, Geist Guardian. This new 27-foot Boston Whaler will be staffed during peak times including approximately six hours on Saturdays, several hours on Sundays, and a few hours on alternating Thursdays and Fridays. If an emergency occurs during any other time, Fishers Fire and Police departments will have quick access to maneuver the Geist Guardian to any designated spot on Geist if necessary.
The Geist Guardian is equipped to perform firefighting capabilities, dive procedures, and advanced forward-looking infrared/sonar search and rescue operations. In addition, she is also prepared to monitor communications between Hamilton and Marion County dispatch centers. After all, both counties work together by responding to emergency calls with “Automatic Mutual Aid Response” for all water-rescue missions.
Furthermore, the Geist Guardian also contains a GPS screen, siren, diving platform, deck gun and hand line hose (that use lake water) for fighting fires, and medical equipment such as an Automated External Defibrillator.
What to Do If You Witness an Emergency
If ever you witness an emergency on Geist Lake, here are some safety steps to follow:
1) Call for help by dialing 911. If you don’t have a cell phone, then attempt to call for help on Marine 16 (VHF radio channel.) If this fails, as a last resort flag down a passing boater to assist you in calling for help.
2) Provide a landmark to dispatcher. Ideally, you should provide a cross street or known location such as “cocktail cove” or whereabouts in reference to the two marinas, Fall Creek Marina or Olio Road Marina.
3) Provide flotation. If a person is in the water, throw him/her a life jacket. Try to reach the victim with a device such as a pole, rope, or ladder.
4) Remain in location. If a person submerges, stay in location to give rescuers/diving team an exact position.
Through a partnership of the Town of Fishers and the Geist Lake Coalition, efforts are being made to label dockside addresses for easier identification purposes.
“One of the biggest challenges of water safety remains with identifying landmarks for emergency crews,” says Steve Orusa, Fishers Fire Chief. “We’re in the process of trying to develop reflective offshore signs to help expedite the waiting time during emergency situations.” These reflective numeric signs would be placed near the shoreline so boaters could easily provide a point of reference to the dispatcher.
As we continue to enjoy our time fishing and boating on Geist, we need to remain respectful to everyone who shares this body of water. Orusa reminds us, “We just want to remind people to have fun but to have fun safely.”
Safety Tips Recommended by Fishers Fire & Police
1) Anyone owning a boat should take some type of safety boating class such as the online DNR (Department of Natural Resources) class.
2) Drinking and boating carries the same consequences as drinking and driving. Everyone should be careful while boating or operating a vehicle.
3) Everyone should wear an appropriately-sized life jacket, especially children or anyone on board who has difficulty swimming. Every boat should have at least one life jacket on board for each of its passengers as well as a throwable Type IV PFD in case of emergency.