SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The Missouri State Highway Patrol is reporting eight people have drowned in Troop D‘s area this year. Four more have died in other boating incidents. Troop D’s area includes southwest Missouri, including Christian, Greene, Stone and Taney Counties.

In 2021, there were a total of eight drowning deaths for the entire year in Troop D’s area, with seven boating fatalities.

Missouri State Highway Patrol Sergeant Mike McClure spoke with Ozarks First about the number of incidents that have occurred so far this year. He said there are several factors at play as 2022’s drowning numbers already match 2021’s ahead of Labor Day.

One of those factors is a very hot summer and the warm-up the area saw beginning in the spring. The sunshine and warm weather drive people to the water, and with an increase in activity comes increased risk.

McClure said basic safety tips should always be a part of anyone’s fun on the water.

These include:

  • Always wear a life jacket or at least keep one handy. This is as important as wearing a seatbelt when you are in a car, said McClure.
  • Be aware of your alcohol intake when you are on the water. Becoming too intoxicated affects your decision-making skills and decreases your ability to respond in an emergency.
  • Always swim with a partner, and on top of that, make sure you let family or friends know where you will be.

Drownings in southwest Missouri in 2022

  • On February 19, a six-year-old child fell into the water and drowned at Beaver Creek in Taney County. The child’s body was recovered in mid-March.
  • On April 18, A man from California jumped off the MO 165 Table Rock Dam spillway into the lake and drowned, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol report.
  • On May 5, in Dade County, a man drove into swift water across the road in Dade County. His truck was swept away, and though he was able to escape, he drowned trying to swim to shore. This happened on MO 143 just south of Greenfield.
  • On May 29, a Neosho man died after being swept downstream in the Elk River in McDonald County.
  • On May 31, a man from Springfield drowned at Springfield Lake near the Low Head dam. The MSHP report said the man was swimming, began to struggle, and did not resurface.
  • A man drowned in Newton County on June 14 after going over Grand Falls at Shoal Creek.
  • On July 15, a Bolivar man drowned on Pomme de Terre Lake. He was seen struggling in the water before drowning.
  • On July 23, a 79-year-old man from Minnesota drowned after struggling to stay above water on Table Rock Lake.

Other boating fatalities in southwest Missouri in 2022

  • On April 14, a Joplin man was reported missing by his family, and his body was found by fishermen on Table Rock Lake in Barry County.
  • On April 29, a man who was paddling his boat after the engine failed fell out of the boat and drowned. This happened near Hickory Hollow Resort in Barry County on Table Rock Lake.
  • On May 18, a man from Cape Fair was killed after being thrown from a boat on Table Rock Lake at Cape Fair marina.
  • On July 10, a 15-year-old girl died when a boat hit a rock bluff at Breezy Point on Table Rock Lake. Several other people, including another teenager, were hurt.

Drownings/boating fatalities in the Lake of the Ozarks area in 2022

  • On June 5, a man from Chicago drowned at Lake of the Ozarks after jumping off a cliff and not resurfacing.
  • On July 29, the driver of a boat was going too fast, according to the Highway Patrol report, and was thrown from the boat. Three other people on the boat were hurt.