Reach, Throw, Paddle, Go


Officer Tholen before the rocky waters of the Fishin' Pond capsized him.

The FishIN Pond in the backyard of the DNR building is used for more than fishing. Conservation Officer Matt Tholen took a dip in the pond water as he intentionally flipped his kayak to demonstrate boat safety. Both Tholen and Conservation Officer Rodney Clear stressed the importance of wearing a life jacket and how it can easily be made into a routine, like putting on a seatbelt. Life jackets today come in more forms than the standard orange vest. Compact vests with an inflatable pull tab are slender and range from around $80 to $120.

Officers Clear and Tholen removing water from the kayak.

To remember how to safely save someone the officers recited the catchy phrase, “reach, throw, paddle, go”. Find something long enough to reach to the person in the water like an oar, broom, rope or net. Throw something nearby to help the struggling person float,  like a basketball, life preserving ring or beach ball. Paddle your way out to the person in a boat, once you reach the person throw them a flotation device and lastly go. Go, not in the water to save them, but to get something to throw, reach or paddle with to spare not only teir life, but yours too. It is common that a  person drowning will grapple for help and likely pull you under the water with them.

With 34 drowning deaths in Indiana this year, it can’t be stressed enough to wear it Indiana.

For more information on boating safely visit or attend one of our sessions at the State Fair:

Wednesday, August 18

12 p.m. – 2 p.m. Paddling Safety, Fishin’ Pond

Thursday, August 19

12 – 2 p.m. Paddling Safety, Fishin’ Pond
Friday, August 20
12 – 2 p.m. Paddling Safety, Fishin’ Pond



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