FRENCHTOWN - An increase in the number of drownings on the Delaware River has prompted a call for a better warning system.
Recreational boaters and tubers flock to the river during the summer and officials fear many are underestimating the dangers the water holds.
"Even though it looks very flat, the current is really raging," says Chuck Arkell, of Paddle Creek Kayaks. "It's very difficult if someone gets out of their watercraft to get to shore or to get back into their boat."
Arkell says the water level has been especially high, creating a much stronger current, which is being blamed for the deaths of four people this summer and the disappearance of two more. He is pushing for a flag warning system, similar to that at the ocean.
The Delaware is even more dangerous because the depth can change dramatically and without warning. When the river is high, it can also pull debris from the shore, which presents another danger to boaters, whose tubes and rafts can get punctured by sharp branches.
Experts say a life vest is the most important piece of safety gear for going out on the water. Currently, they are only required for boaters of a certain age, and not required by tubers.