The Clarion's front page photo on Tuesday has me dumbfounded. It should have been labeled "What's Wrong With This Picture?" A local guide is taking a boatload of young children out on Johnson Lake fishing. The children are all wearing flotation vests. Is the guide? Anyone who has lived in Alaska for any time at all, much less a fishing guide, knows that accidents happen in the blink of an eye. Water in Alaska lakes is notoriously cold, especially in spring right after the ice goes out. Winds come up, weather changes, perfectly "safe" boats sink for no obvious reason. Could that guide help those children to shore if an accident occurred? Or would he be helpless himself thus leaving them without an adult who can think or act in their best interest? I don't know if the spare seat in the front is for the gentleman pushing the boat off, but he doesn't appear to be wearing a flotation device either. Let's all t hink about what we are doing, and the modeling we are doing for our children when we do not follow simple safety rules. It won't be long before, as with seat belts, we will be legislated into wearing floation devices on the water because we are too stubborn or stupid to think we need them. For everyone out there who thinks we have "too much" government in our lives now, here is a chance to sidestep the problem. Its the same concept as putting on an oxygen mask first in an airplane. You can't help anyone else if you are helpless. When going out on the water, any water, or even a dock into deep water, take the necessary 30 seconds to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
Marilyn E. Wheeless
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