Push for life jacket law on Spokane River


SPOKANE, Wash. -Paul Delaney has been an avid whitewater rafter for 40 years. He knows the Spokane River like the paddle he uses to navigate it  "We use this river very regularly and we know how wonderful it is but on the other hand if you're not prepared how dangerous it can be," said the co-founder of the Northwest White Water Association Paul Delaney.

After seeing KHQ's story about five men being rescued without life jackets on the Spokane River last summer, Delaney says it's time for the city to take action.  He would like the city to create a law which would require those using the river to wear a life jacket. As of right now, the City of Spokane does not have any code in the books. However, Spokane County does and requires all people regardless of their age to wear a life jacket. If you don't, you could face a fine of $76.

But Delaney's proposal has hit some rapids along the way " A draft ordinance was prepared. I took a look at it, and it's nine pages long and said there's really nothing here that is related to life jackets," said Delaney.

The draft was all powerboat related. The draft mentioned running lights, collisions, and buoys. All that Paul would like is for the city to pass a simple ordinance. But there's a twist with the fine "I want to see it go one step further and that is when you have to bring out first responders for people who disobey the law I would like to see those people potentially liable for those costs."

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