Thursday, June 27, 2013

TITLE WHAT PRICE SAFETY? A WATERWORKS Column by Gordon Prickett for the 7/3/2013 Aitkin Independent Age. Every year drowning victims are reported in the news - starting before ice-out until a solid freeze-up state-wide. One of the best safety posters I have ever seen shows two enlarged pieces of fishing tackle. On one side is a Bobber and on the other a Sinker, with the word "OR" between them. Near the bottom of the poster is the command "WEAR YOUR LIFE JACKET!" It is one of the DNR’s better messages. I thought about that poster early last week shortly after sunrise as I saw two guys standing in a small fishing boat with large outboard motor, speeding from the public landing. It’s now the time when loon chicks have just come from the nest, and they are vulnerable to speedboats and other quicker predators. We have three nesting pairs of loons on our lake which is only 400 acres in area, less than a mile across it. This was a concern a week ago when a brand new neighbor brought two jetskis to the lake, and his kids and guests displayed no knowledge of the restrictions on these watercraft. Like "slow, no-wake speeds until 150 feet from shore." Some lake people have complained that nobody can estimate such distances. Maybe they have never seen the 50-yard-line on a football field. The jetski can speed up when it gets to the goal line. Each yard is three feet. (old math) Boating safety becomes a major concern on summer Saturdays when every type of watercraft is afloat. Canoes, kayaks, and sailboats, dodge among power boats towing wake boarders or their tiny tots hanging onto rafts. And some of us are quietly fishing. As boat traffic increases, now that a very short spring has left us and summer is here, I just hope that all of these fragile bodies have life jacket protection.

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