Water safety revisited after paddleboarder’s death

AUSTIN (KXAN) — It is a summertime sport plenty of folks in Austin do all the time, paddling on Lady Bird Lake. This weekend one trip out with friends turned tragic.

Karl Savio Pimenta-Pereira drowned near Red Bud Isle.

Jane Shepherd has gotten to know a lot of paddleboarders over the years, so the news that someone died while paddleboarding over the weekend was difficult to hear.

“It just gave me a sick feeling in my stomach, as soon as I heard it,” Shepherd said. She manages the Texas Rowing Center and checks in hundreds of paddle boarders every week.

She says everyone 18 and up must sign a release form warning them about water hazards and reminding them to wear a life vest.

“Children 13 years and younger by law have to wear a jacket,” she said. “By law everyone must have a jacket on board and we encourage you to wear your jacket.”

But no one over the age of 14 is required by law to wear one.

“I mean you have to make sure that you balance yourself really well (on the board),” said 18-year-old Ari Platz. “And you take proper safety precautions and wear a life vest if you’re not that great a swimmer that type of thing.”

But as Shepherd knows firsthand, not everybody follows those precautions.

“We will provide as much instruction about staying safe but everybody is responsible for themselves,” said Shepherd. And she says being responsible on the water means wearing a life jacket.

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