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Spend money on adequate waterfront safety equipment

Each year drownings occur on our waterways. Some happen in creeks, some in rivers. The recent drownings of individuals should finally get the attention of our public officials. All the wonderful improvements of the Buffalo waterfront and the amazing diversity of the lower Niagara River sound great at election time. One must wonder why when millions upon millions have been spent for improvements, why wasn’t a petite sum spent for PFDs (personal flotation devices, or life savers)? Some extra ladders could be installed on waterways where people are known to cool off.

Recent drownings at the Locks, Union Ship Canal and lower Niagara should wake one of our sleeping politicians up. These drownings may have occurred when people were unfamiliar with their environment; however, one must question why no safety precautions are being taken with all the people who fish our wonderful waterways. Accidents do happen.

The cost of some rope and a personal flotation device is insignificant compared to the hardship a family must face upon losing a loved one.

As a fisherman who spends time on many waterways in New York, I find it shameful that the only two spots I have seen PFDs are the fishering platform in the lower Niagara and Oak Orchard Creek dam. Accidents happen no matter how many signs are posted about the danger of the water.

Maybe, instead of our local politicians blaming people for ignoring a sign, one of them will step up and take the bull by the horns and encourage funding for some extra safety implements, such as some extra ladders and life rings. The time to move forward with these improvements is immediately. Not the pace that has been seen of moving forward with the Peace Bridge or a new boat launch for boater access in Erie County.

I encourage any politician whom thinks any different on this matter to contact the familes who have lost loved ones.

Patrick Swartz

West Seneca