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No wading without a life jacket

Adults caught wading in King County, Wash., rivers this summer without a life jacket could face an $86 fine


 
No wading without a life jacket

Todd Pearson/Getty Images

Adults caught wading in King County, Wash., rivers this summer without a life jacket could face an $86 fine. County council members have passed a law that requires anyone swimming, wading or boating in major rivers more than five feet from shore or four feet deep to wear a life jacket, regardless of their age or swimming ability. Fears that a 200 per cent increase in the county’s snowpack this year could make waterways especially dangerous spooked council members into voting five to four in favour of the law. “We are looking at a potentially deadly situation,” council member Larry Phillips said. Supporters of the law say it will save lives, pointing to 17 drowning deaths in major county rivers between 2005 and 2009. But critics have accused the county of over-regulation. “This council sometimes thinks it’s everybody’s mom,” said council member Kathy Lambert, who voted against the ordinance. The law, which is in effect from July 1 to Oct. 31, doesn’t apply to skin divers, adults fishing or people on designated public beaches. A first offence will result in a warning, while second-time offenders will get a fine, whether their bathing suits have pockets for tickets or not.


 

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