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River talk: choose life


August 18, 2011

Talk throughout the river corridor lately has been focused on a series of preventable drownings in the Upper Delaware River—three within an eight-day period — and five since the season began. Had the victims been wearing lifejackets, they might be alive today.
In my role as a reporter for this newspaper, I covered two of the recent Delaware drownings and was struck again at the familiar story and its truly terrible and irrevocable outcome. Choosing not to wear a lifejacket when recreating in the surprisingly powerful Delaware River not only places one at heightened risk, but endangers others who engage in rescue and/or recovery efforts when needed.
Even experienced capable swimmers can encounter unexpected circumstances. And while this is not an argument for mandated lifejacket use, it is an appeal to good sense and the opportunity to avoid becoming like one of the more than 60 individuals who were not wearing lifejackets when they drowned in the Delaware.
Choice is powerful. It can mean the difference between enjoying many more days making memories in the magnificent waters of the Delaware. Or not. Please wear a lifejacket and encourage your friends and family members to do the same.