St. Clair County Sheriff, Tim Donnellon, is concerned about the dangers involved in this year’s float down. With water levels at record highs, Donnellon wants floaters to know that this isn’t the same river they’ve floated in past years. What’s the big change? The current. With water levels so high, the current is much stronger, and those who make a choice to float without a paddle or a life jacket will not be prepared to deal with the power of the river. Many people take for granted that first responders will be out in full force during the float down, but Donnellon reminds us that the river can claim someone’s life in minutes, and the disorganization of the event prevents first responders from being able to quickly identify those in trouble.
If you’ve decided this event is worth the risk, Sheriff Donnellon urges common sense: wear a properly fitted life jacket, take a paddle, be prepared with water and sunscreen, and make sure all children keep their life jackets on. All minors are required to wear life jackets at all times, and those who don’t will be removed from the water along with their entire party. There are plenty of ways to enjoy the water safely, so make good choices to protect yourself, your friends, and your family this Sunday.