careful_ PFD thread, sort of

More of an awareness thread. I don’t mean to start up any arguments but just thought this Leah persons attitude was pretty typical to what I hear.


COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - With a week to go until the official start of summer, it has already been a deadly year for people in Midlands rivers.

At the end of may, WIS NewsHawk flew over the Saluda River in Richland County as crews looked for Desmond Shaw. They would eventually pull the 26-year-old’s body from the water. Officials say he drowned.

And just last week, 17-year-old Chris Buckley the third drowned in the Congaree River. Friends say he fell into a deep part of the water and started to panic.

With so many similar stories lately, Thursday WIS News 10 joined a firefighter rescue team on the Saluda River to see just how many people are putting their lives at risk.

We saw Leah Goldman in the front of a group of friends floating down the rapids on the Saluda River. No one was wearing a life jacket.

The Columbia firefighters with whom we were watching shook their heads.

“That’s the way people die right there,” said Columbia firefighter Matthew Busenlehner.

It’s the same exact spot Desmond Shaw drowned two weeks ago.

At the bottom of the rapids we caught up with Leah, who says she’s a strong swimmer.

“This is our first time on the river, that’s why we were screaming earlier because we weren’t really exactly sure of the currents,” said Goldman.

Leah told us the group had life jackets with them, but weren’t wearing them.

“If it gets really choppy we do intend to. But right now we’re just using them to attach our rafts together, so if we fall out of the water, they’re right there,” she told us.

We also asked Leah if maybe putting on a life jacket before going down those rapids might be a good idea. “Probably so, but um, we didn’t do that,” she said, laughing.

Leah was one of about 30 people we saw floating on the river, and none of them were wearing life jackets. Fire fighters say all of them were putting their lives in danger.

“All it takes is one flip over, a head to the rock, or a foot entrapment, and they’re dead,” says Busenlehner.

Firefighters say on the Saluda River, it’s not just the rapids that can be deadly.

“Saluda River’s really, really dangerous,” says Busenlehner.

They warn even if you’re standing, under the water there are hidden deep spots, places where you’re foot can get trapped, and unstable footing.

“The rocks are very slippery, you can go from waist deep and slip off into over your head,” says Busenlehner.

Firefighters recommend if you can not swim, don’t go in deeper than your ankles. And if you intend to go in deeper, always where a life jacket.

But that advice won’t stop swimmers like Leah.

“There’s always things we know we should do but sometimes we toss out the window in the interest of something more fun,” says Leah.

leah will be
thinned from the herd. Using them to attach the rafts together, gawwwwwd.

Ran into a bunch of tubers yesterday. First group had a floating bar with them, and was excited to be able to offer us “any drink we wanted.” All the other kids were sober and wearing lifejackets. Lotta high speed granite…

“Strong swimmers”

– Last Updated: Jun-13-08 7:08 AM EST –

That's always the one that I like the most. People seem to judge their swimming ability with the same candor that many well-meaning people judge their talent at playing the organ or singing in church. The unfortunate results can be heard every Sunday.

I haven't met a truly "strong swimmer" yet who doesn't have enough respect for current and rocks to take advantage of a PFD in a river with serious current. Not that there aren't exceptions out there, but 30 people encountered in the same float down the river aren't an exception.

Like vegetables, right? :wink:

AKA river test probes.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY

exactly Celia
there are exceptions. Always are. Reason I even posted this is because of Leah’s attitude and thought process.


I used to go down rivers like that
in high school. Shudder now to think of what my mom let us do. The main problem: not scouting. We just ran the river, from Carver/Estacada on down.

Brazil, you know you could put this on
the Paddlers Discussion board, as it does not appear to either offer advice, nor to seek it.

OH crap!
The forum policeman busted you Paul.

Again I thought Brent was in charge!

were they tubing?
if so it’s no suprise—tubers are the lowest lifeform.

People who wear their PFD are perfect
People who don’t wear their PFD are pond scum and should just be shot.

Of course, they are still more likely to die while on the car ride to the river than to actually die while boating without a PFD.

Keep things in perspective people, your chance of being killed in a car in your lifetime is 1 in 88 (quoted from “a short history of everything” Bryson). What chance do you have of being killed in your life in a river because of no PFD?

We all take risks. I am a pilot. Am I the lowest life form because I accept a higher level of danger than you who only boat?

Maybe people who take less precautions than you are simply ignorant or are making a choice that is their right (until some ass like you makes a law and doesn’t let people make their own decisions).

Too bad about the people who died. It’s gonna happen unless we make leaving the house illegal.


I’m covered both ways
I wear my pfd in the canoe and in the car

Worse than those retirees…
… that run all the homeowner associations, and spend their days pissing and moaning about who parks what where!

Oh, wait - you’re probably that too aren’t you G2D?

The same old “what post goes where” shtick is getting REALLY stale. Take a lesson from JackL, my favorite (not exactly) grumpy (and will never be old) man - and paddle more!

My favs from the homeowners Ass.
“It appears that too many people are walking on your lawn”

It is the most nicely stated
post he has ever made to tell someone they have posted in the wrong forum.

"Leah will get thinned from the herd." Too funny, but true.

She may not realize it, but she sounds like a fool and is setting a bad example for other people.


If you read up on the stories ALL the folks that DID drown didn’t have PFDS on and more importantly didn’t even know how to swim…

All judgement in the end
To wear or not wear a PFD should be part of that process, but a lot of the problems happen because the initial go or no go decision was bad. Another one today - epic floods on the news all over the midwest, and several adults still are damned fools enough to go out in canoes with their kids on a river at flood stage. It’d appear that they didn’t have PFD’s (the ones in the video look like those that Swiftwater rescue folks provide), and if anyone had ended up in the water from the canoes they’d have helped, but the core of it was that they were out there at all.

It looks like the rescue operation was pretty costly too - two rafts, a pretty robust tow set up, and what looks like trucks from up to two fire departments.

give up, don’t even try
PFD use or non use is the most emotional issue on this board—you either think its necessary to wear one or not and no amount of logical or nonlogical argument will ever change anybody’s mind here on that topic

Good morning Celia
when are you coming to maine this year?


– Last Updated: Jun-17-08 4:20 PM EST –

(Edited) The bulk of July, at Flood's Cove in Friendship. We are trying to get a date to work with the Sea Cliff folks on surf skills down at Popham, but nothing confirmed yet. Email me if you may want cell phone numbers - no internet or even TV at the cabin, so we have to find an excuse to go to Rockland Library and use our annual temporary membership for internet time. But the cell phones work at least minimally if we go out in front of the cabin and wave them around for a few minutes.

We have been in contact with the guy who runs Friendship Kayak as well, have paddled with him, and have Muscle Ridge and Eastern Egg on the want-to-do again list assuming we can put together the right group.

The water is starting to get too warm around here anyway - the bottom release on the Deerfield felt a lot more refreshing than the Hudson and Mohawk do by now.