A Child's Safety
by: David Coulson 10/4/2007
Rather lost my cool this evening. Ok, those that know me well, “cool” or “calm” are not words used to describe my demeanor on the water. But an incident occurred that I could not in good conscience not turn my back to. I fished Dixon Reservoir, a small pond just below Horsetooth Reservoir. As is my habit, I watch other fishers while I’m fishing. One never knows when someone may be having a better time catching fish than me.
I noticed a small inflatable raft being launched from the dam area, which seemed an unusual launch area, but fishers, me included do strange things at times. The trio in the craft worked my way. The small 8-10 feet raft seemed a bit crowded with three people and the two paddling appeared to be struggling slightly. Needless to say it had my attention. As the craft neared, I realized that none of the occupants were wearing life vests and that the middle person was a child that appeared to be of grade school age, fifth or sixth grade max.
At that point I was concerned and moved within speaking range. I queried as to whether they had life jackets on board, thinking I’d suggest the child at a minimum should be wearing one. They didn’t. I stated that they were in violation of boating regulations, and really needed to get off the water before an open space ranger showed. Trust that is not what I wanted to say. Fortunately, the rafters were good natured about it and promptly went to shore. There the child and one of the adults got out of the raft, which saved me from making sterner comments. I was steamed enough that I even queried the other float tubers about life jackets, which I normally don’t do. The tubers had vests, but were not wearing them. Not a smart choice from my viewpoint, but their choice to make.
I am a believer in life vests and firmly believe all rafters, float tubers, canoe paddlers, kayakers, etc., should be wearing them at all times when they are on the water. But if you’re an adult and wish to risk your life, so be it. Who am I to deny you the right to take undo risks with your life? A dumb thing to do given the majority of drownings from boating accidents (includes canoes and the like) could have been prevented had only a life jacket been worn. Still, as an adult that is a personal choice, but DO NOT put a child at risk. There is no excuse, ever, for putting children at risk and when I see it happen, I protest loud and clearly.
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ePiC, CO 10/4/2007 3:13:28 AM
I also have this issue, especially with Childern. I would add especially this time of year water tempatures are dropping and are averaging 55 degrees or less. There are a couple of things that could happen if you fall into water this cold. The first being cold water shock, which is a body reaction to gasp for air the problem is you are falling into the water which may cause you to gasp a mouth ful of water. Next is hypothermia which is when your body tempature drops below 95 degrees. In cold water this happens alot faster then air temps ontop of that your muscles start to contract and cramp.
The use of life jackets can save your life, every year there is someone in the news that has drowned because they capsized their boat/canoe or whatever and never made it back to shore. Dont be one of these headlines, wear your life jackets and for God's sake make your childern wear theirs.
Fishful Thinker, CO 10/4/2007 7:56:56 AM
FishDr, CO 10/9/2007 1:50:25 PM
I've been wearing a life jacket in my pontoon for a couple of years now. I don't like doing it, but I think the following would make a pretty poor gravestone engraving.
"He was too proud to wear a life jacket, so he left it in the truck"
I leave my life jacket clipped to my seat when I store my pontoon so that there's no way I can "accidentally forget" to bring it with me.
People, don't gamble with your lives, or with your children's lives. So you look goofy...it's better than having people look at you inside a cedar box. Even if you don't care if you drown, someone else (family, friends) does.
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