SCOTT TOWNSHIP, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — An 18-year-old died and two teens were rescued after a boat capsized in a Wayne County lake over the weekend. The tragedy is inspiring important conversations about water safety.

First responders in our region are sounding the alarm about water safety, especially as the weather begins to warm up.

Eyewitness News reporter Madonna Mantione spoke with the Scott Township Dive Rescue Team about helpful tips you and your family can use to stay safe.

A PFD, or a personal flotation device, saves lives.

So says Bill White, President of Dive Rescue Specialists, a Water Emergency Response Team.

“If they’re wearing a PFD, even when it’s cold, the hypothermia takes over, even if they go unconscious, they will still be floating and they can be revived. I mean it’s very, very important that you wear a PFD with any kind of water sports that you do,” said White.

Founded in 1983, white’s team is an all-volunteer emergency services department.

They are skilled in swiftwater, ice, and boat-based rescues, in addition, to dive search and recoveries, assisting agencies across northeastern Pennsylvania.

“Too many of the drowning victims that we’ve recovered, they were drinking beforehand, you just don’t make good decisions a lot of times, and the end result could be very tragic,” said White.

White says descriptive witnesses play an important role in the recovery process.

“We’ve made recoveries within five minutes of arriving on-scene because we had good witnesses,” said White.

If you can’t reach, throw, or row, White says you should never get in the water to help someone without specialized equipment.

“We’ve had so many multiple drownings because one person started getting in trouble, a second person went to try to assist them, they both drowned,” said White.

The Dive Rescue Specialists Team has responded to five drownings since the beginning of 2023.