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06/27/2019 Our Voice

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Measures have merit

Recent deaths on the Rainbow River steered Dunnellon City Council into appointing an ad hoc River Safety Committee to see what could be done to stop additional issues.

The committee met and developed some suggestions for use of the Rainbow River. Several of the proposals have merit and the necessary agencies should implement the ideals as soon as possible.

One such suggestion was a dock numbering system. In case of an emergency, this would help agencies responding to pinpoint a location quickly and reducing response times. We encourage all waterfront property owners to go along with such a plan. Besides it would make it easier to tell your new neighbors to stop by Dock 5 for cocktails at 5.

Another suggestion that has merit was the requirement that rental businesses renting tubes show a video explaining the dangers of tubing — stay away from low hanging trees branches because there could be wasps and keeping the wind from blowing you in weeds or docks. The video should also be posted to tourism websites in the area to help prepare the first time tuber for the unknown.

But the suggestion banning coolers on the river seems a bit over the top.

Tubing the river takes hours and food and drink is needed, especially if you drove two hours to get to the river. Alcoholic beverages are against the rules — so let’s just leave it at that. Banning coolers means you also ban them from boats and kayakers and even property owners.

Removing rope swings — while they might be dangerous — jumping off one’s dock can cause similar injuries. We could say docks are just as dangerous to tubers and other recreational users if the wind picks up and they are blown into them.

It isn’t fair to ask property owners to take out their docks, but then again blocking off their own private swimming areas isn’t either.

This is Florida and folks should understand the physical tolls of being in the hot Florida sun for hours. It means making good, common sense decisions. It means understanding your physical abilities, your medical needs or those of your family members and friends. It means preparing for it.

The reality is water safety starts at home. Folks should plan accordingly.