Casper Fire-EMS has been dealing with a unique problem this summer. The problem is, when someone spots a boat or other watercraft floating with no occupants, the result is treated as a possible drowning and that ties up a lot of people and equipment and that in turn, costs a lot of money.

They are asking everyone to report immediately if you become separated from your boat or other craft. Here is the full release...

           Through the course of the summer, Casper Fire-EMS and other area agencies have received numerous calls about unattended watercraft in the Platte River.   When these calls are received, they are treated as a drowning incident until proven otherwise.  A full complement of resources will respond and remain on scene until resolved.

            At this point in the season, we are pleased to say that none have proven to be a drowning incident.  They have all been found to be a lost watercraft where the rider and watercraft become separated.

            In an effort to manage resources and assure maximum availability for response to all types of emergency incidents, Casper Fire-EMS asks that if people floating with any type of watercraft or floatation device become separated from it, please notify our dispatch.  If you become separated, when it is safe to do so, call the non-emergent number for Casper Dispatch at 235-8278.  The dispatcher will obtain information and a description of your watercraft.  When this is done, if we receive a call, we can determine much quicker the likelihood that there is a victim in the river or not.  This will allow us to respond with appropriate resources while balancing availability of resources for other emergencies.

            We also recommend marking watercraft with a name and contact information to speed communication and facilitate the return of recovered watercraft it is located.  This can be done with permanent marker or placing some type of documentation in a cargo or storage area on the watercraft.

            PLEASE NOTE! In asking for this assistance from river users, it does not mean that we are asking to public to not call 911 in the event of a suspected river incident.  If you see an unmanned watercraft or are concerned with any other activity on the river that is a life safety issue, PLEASE CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY!