Danger lurks beneath the surface of Missouri River

Staff at Cooper's Landing Marina are urging boaters and swimmers to stay safe when using the Missouri River in the wake of a recent drowning.

In the wake of a recent drowning, staff and swimmers at a marina near Perche Creek are urging boaters and river enthusiasts to keep safety in mind when using Missouri's rivers.

Vanessa Leitza of Coopers Landing Marina said however refreshing the water might be, danger lurks just feet away from the shoreline.

"There are shelves if you walk on the beach, and it drops off," Leitza said.

17 year-old Eric Alvarado drowned just upstream from where Leitza works. A canoeist reported seeing him go under, but rescue crews were unable to save him.

Many people who were at the marina Saturday said they know of someone who has had a close call.

"We actually had a death in one of our friend's families a few years ago," said Ashlee Battershell. "A 16 year-old was trying to save a younger kid. He saved him, but he himself did not make it."

Leitza said using caution is absolutely necessary when taking a swim in the Missouri River or other waterways.

"It is pretty dangerous. If you don't know what you are doing, you will get hurt," Leitza said. "You need life jackets, you need to be with people who know what they're doing. It's dangerous, it's not like a swimming pool. There are currents and eddies all over the place."

For anyone going in the water, Missouri State Highway Patrol recommends wearing a life jacket at all times.

They also recommend swimmers know the characteristics of the river they're entering and have an emergency plan in place if something does go wrong.

For a complete list of river safety tips, click here.