I seem to get a shot of motivation whenever there is a local tragedy.
I spent yesterday afternoon on the St Joseph in the area where a woman went missing. There was only one other vehicle at the put-in.
No luck. Big river. There will be a more massive search today.
I had reached out to a local news station to discuss river safety and it turns out that I missed an offer for an interview while I was out paddling but coincidentally the same reporter was at my take-out and we had a lovely conversation. I’ve offered to be interviewed and also offered to take a WNDU staff member for a canoe ride to show them the hazards.
So I’ve been thinking about messaging. What are the simple, clear and compelling points to make if I get a chance?
I’m thinking that I’d want to touch on swimming ability and PFD’s.
Most americans overestimate their swimming ability and can’t pass a basic swim test. I’m a lifeguard and I get exhausted easily if I dont swim regularly The river current is faster than a person can swim so it’s very dangerous for anyone uncertain of their swimming skills to be in the river.
It’s a big river with lots of water. Some places are calm but in other places the river gets narrow and the current gets fast. In some places one would have to swim a long way before the river current lets you get to shore. The river is also full of sunken trees that could easily entangle you or knock the wind out of you if you’re in the water.
90% of drowning victims do not wear a PFD. I’m a lifeguard and I wear a PFD. THINGS HAPPEN on the river!
Take swim lessons at the YMCA! I will teach you myself.
Wear a PFD for your own safety and for the safety of those that might have to risk their lives to rescue you if you don’t wear a PFD.
I welcome any comments about messaging. Even the reporter said “it looks pretty calm”. I told her I was amazed at the general lack of awareness of the dangers of the river when our news comes out of South Bend and the town is named after a bend in the St Joseph river!