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July 25, 2014
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editorial

Safe recreation on the river


While the livery industry would like to see mandatory lifejacket wear, current regulations require that a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal floatation device (PFD) be within hand’s reach. However, when water levels remain above six feet as measured at either the gauge at Callicoon, NY or at Barryville, mandatory lifejacket wear requirements apply to every boater on and every swimmer in the river.

With the season’s recreational river use kicking into high gear, it seems appropriate to contemplate the common-sense essentials of water safety and for all of us to understand that river safety is a must. This is especially relevant in light of recent heavy rainfall that saw the river running high and fast, requiring increased skills of boaters and extra caution for anyone in the water.

One key target audience of last summer’s water safety campaign was young men, ages 21 to 35. This is no accident. A visit to the website of the Centers for Disease Control indicates that nearly 80% of people who die from drowning are male. (Studies suggest that the higher drowning rates among males are due to increased exposure to water recreation and to riskier behavior.) Other major risk factors include insufficient swimming ability, including overestimating one’s swimming ability; alcohol use, which impairs judgment; and, yes, failure to wear a life jacket.

The Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River is a wonderful recreational destination, especially when you’re wearing a sturdy pair of river shoes and a well-fitting lifejacket. Accompanied by friends, you can lean back, put your feet up, and float to your heart’s content.

[A recorded message, available 24 hours a day and updated daily during the boating season, provides the river height, air and water temperatures, boating conditions and general river safety information. Call the Upper Delaware River Hotline at 845/252-7100. For more water safety information visit www.nps.gov/upde/planyourvisit/riversafety.htm]