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County Ordinance Requires Swimmers To Wear A Life Vest

June 23, 2011 by  

County Ordinance Requires Swimmers To Wear A Life Vest

An ordinance passed Monday in Washington requires King County river swimmers to wear a life vest. Violators will first receive a warning, and then face an $86 fine.

“This Council sometimes thinks it’s everybody’s mom,” Councilwoman Kathy Lambert, who voted no on the ordinance, told The ordinance passed by a 5-4 vote.

Supporters of the ordinance said excessive mountain snowpack could make area waterways particularly hazardous this summer. “We are looking at a potentially deadly situation,” Councilmember Larry Phillips said, according to the article.

However, the article said opponents of the ordinance called it an intrusive move by “big government,” and “sheriff’s deputies had better things to do than to write tickets for people on waterways and would be better off focusing on people engaging in dangerous behavior.”

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  • TIME


    • Vigilant

      5-4 vote: eerily similar to a number of Supreme Court decisions.

      King County electorate: YOU voted these libs into the Council. If you want them out and the ordinance repealed, vote them out. If not, move out of the county and/or forever hold your peace. Easy peezy.

  • Dan az

    Yep its to early and I think I may be a sleep still.Cant we just make being a liberal a crime?

    • 45caliber


      It isn’t a crime – it’s a mental condition that needs professional treatment.

      • Dan az

        then its time we reopen the asylums.

  • Thinkbug

    I moved out of King County 5 years ago to escape this mentality.

  • Disgusted

    Wow. I live on the water, but in a different state and I would be very upset if it was mandated that I had to wear a life vest to be in the water.
    Whatever happened to people being responsible for themselves? If I make a stupid decision and it gets me killed then that was my fault. Others should not have their rights infringed upon because of my stupid decision. Our society just makes me sick.
    The other day I was filling my tiki torches with fluid when I noticed a big warning label on the bottle. It is unbelievable that we have to place a warning on products that should just be common sense! We have catered to the idiots for far too long and it needs to stop.

    • Jim Harrison

      Ever heard the adage, “If you protect a fool in his folly you eventually fill the planet with fools”? Bureaucrats have nothing better to do than constantly work on the “utopia” of a risk-free society. It’s non-productive job security.

    • 45caliber

      Take a look at many of the court suits and criminal charges. Most of the suits seem to be by people suing some manufacturer due to their own stupidity. “I didn’t know that if I did that it was dangerous! They didn’t tell me it was!” And many of the criminal charges are to innocent people because the criminal is dead. The government believes SOMEONE must be punished and if the criminal is dead, who else can we punish? His parents? His friends? The character next door?

  • Harold Olsen

    As usual, much of the truth about this ordinance has been omitted. I live in Seattle, which is in King County. The reason for this ordinance is the death of kids swimming in the swollen rivers. Had those kids been wearing life vests they’d still be alive. Like the rest of the brain dead media the columnists on this web site seem to only report part of the story–the part they want to tell.

    • simsmd in Indiana

      Old Harold, how about individual responsibility. The parents, the kids, but blame everybody for someone else being stupid? I thought libs believed in Darwin? Come on man, it’s a damned shame kids die, but if they’d been taught to stay out of the river when it was up instead of sitting in front of a stupid tube (tv, computer et al) or learning about gay is ok, maybe tragedy wouldn’t happen.

    • eddie47d

      These folks who write these stories don’t even want warnings on medicine bottles about the dangers to children or even adults. Everything is an extreme to them and they aren’t backing down. Now a more common sense approach would be to post warning signs (which they would also oppose),that the river has turbulence and life vests should be used for your safety needs. That would give the public warning and personal responsibility. As far as Tiki Torches goes(Disgusted) I’m sure there are plenty of people who don’t realize this fluid can be as dangerous as gasoline. Keep your seat belts off folks for they don’t matter either.

      • Jim Harrison

        Warning signs are fine if they include “Do so at your OWN risk.”

      • CJM

        eddie47d: “Keep your seat belts off folks for they don’t matter either.” Excuse me, but tell this bit of your sarcasm to my deceased spouse who died in an auto accident BECAUSE of the seat belt, which collapsed the lungs. Truth is, seat belts kill and maim just as many who are considered ‘saved.’ The government, unions, and auto industry just don’t want people to know this.

        • TIME

          You bring up a really good point. I had a friend who had his head cut off by his seat belt after he was hit from behind by a drunk driver.
          From people I know that work for EMS thats very common with seat belts that don’t have adjustment slides built into the car’s structure.

          There is not one single thing that will save you when your number comes up Its that simple, Governmet can’t help you when GOD calls.

        • always right

          “Truth is” that you don’t know your backside from a hole in the ground. So I guess in your mind, dying by being ejected from the vehicle or having a steering column skewer him like a marshamallow on a stick, pericardial tamponade from hitting the wheel with his chest or a broken neck from driving his face into the steering wheel would have been a better way to go? “Truth is” that in 15 years in the fire service, I only unbuckled one dead body, and that was in a 63 Corvair, the car that gave Ralph Nader his start. I sure cut a lot of unbelted ones out of cars thoughs:scores. I’ll stick with the belts, thanks.

          • TIME


            Who are you talking to? I noted what happened to a good friend, he was beheaded by his seatbelt. Thats the facts rather you like it or not.
            I too have been in a few car crashes, if I had a seat belt on in any of them I would not be here today, again thats the facts.

            Most cars now are equipped with air bags, our BMW has at least 6 in the drivers cabin, the back seat has them too.
            Even my Porsche has air bags, but I also have custom seats with 4 point restraints. If you ask if that form of seat belt is safe, I would say 100% for sure.
            As well most all modern cars have a stearing column that breaks then folds into the cars crush form, thats how they build cars these days they just fold into themselfs.

            I am sorry you have had to see gruesome events but I posted what I have seen and what I have experienced.

            BTW, When I was 20 years old thats way back in 1970 a guy I knew was killed in his new Corvettee, and he had his seat belt on.
            He was cut in three, then what was left of him burned to a crisp.
            He was hit by a guy who was drunk as a skunk who was in a Caddie that hit my friend head on at 65 MPH, the guy in the Caddie was not wearing his seat belt and had only a few scratches.

          • eddie47d

            Time; I would say the size of the vehicle had more to do with that last situation rather than the seat belt. It wouldn’t have mattered either way. Most accidents occur at lower speeds and even while stopped at red lights.So seat belts can make a big difference then.

          • Dan az

            Always? right?
            Not in a long shot buddy Tell that to my brother that died from the seat belt not the crash.And eddie you sound like one of those that say the motorcycle that was traveling at 180 miles per hr that had the driver been wearing a helmet he might of lived.Do you not see even the most obvious reasoning that we all were born to die so what give you the right to make laws that are killing people because you want to be safe?I have never worn a seat belt and to this day will never wear one.OMG call the police!

          • eddie47d

            Dan…TSK TSK!

        • 45caliber


          According to a police friend of mine, they are worse. He told me that in minor accidents seat belts can reduce injuries – which the insurance companies want. In major accidents, they can kill – which the insurance companies prefer to major injuries. If there are major injuries, they have to pay the medical costs which could reach over a hundred thousand, but payout for a fatality is usually no more than $50,000. So seal belts save the insurance companies money in both cases – never mind what we’d prefer to see happen.

          Incidently, I found out that the insurance maximums are NOT maximums. My wife had an accident and they refused to pay more than $2,500 for her injuries. They had to “save” the rest of the money in case there were additional people who had injuries – and she was the only person in the accident.

      • 45caliber

        I’ve no problem with that. It’s the parents who let their kids go in without supervision and then sue because “I didn’t know it was dangerous!” that annoy me.

    • Kevlar Linc

      Yep. Good point, Harold. And if those unnamed drowned kids would have stayed out of the water, they would still be alive. And that ride from their homes to the river must be dangerous (statistically, probably more so than than a tube-ride down the Duwamish). Next, how about an ordinance requiring King County residents to either stay home or not go within 100 yards of the water’s edge? Safety First! Right Harold? Since you live in Seattle (my birthplace) you must be all giddy and tingly about Mayor Mike’s campaign to rid the Seattle streets of those dangerous, environmentally bad automobiles. That should do wonders for Seattle residents’ abilities to get to and from work, etc. Remember to wear those bike-rider’s helmets, kids…it’s the LAW!

    • ValDM

      You’re right Harold….much has been left out. I live in Spokane & we’re experiencing a VERY wet & cool summer, in addition to flooding. I KNOW it’s happening in Seattle too.

      WHY would Seattle issue such an edict instead of just saying “stay out of the rivers until they go down”? If you go in the rivers when they’re so high, do so at your own risk. BTW, the rivers in the NW are notoriously COLD. Hypothermia probably has a great deal to do with all those drownings. What does Seattle plan to do about THAT?

      Incidentally, go back & look at the stats on WHO drowns. I’ll tell you WHO drowns : it’s generally black children followed by Mexicans followed by Asians…….because they don’r know HOW to swim & shouldn’t be at the river anyway. Almost 30% of ALL drownings involve black children, 20% Mexicans, 12% Asians.

      OR, Seattle could develop a program to teach people how to swim.

  • Joe Howard

    What about scuba divers? Need an extra 100 lbs lead diving weight to go below the surface?? It would also hinder the use of diving boards as the vest would make you go splat on the surface. Gosh I can hardly wait for the next Olympic Divers to have to put on vests also. Stupid nanny state laws.

  • AkTom

    And this same liberal mentality that believes in evolution as an absolute truth is now trying to stifle it.

    • 45caliber

      Agreed! LOL

    • Dan az


  • CJM

    How nice it must be to know that mother lives everywhere–she must be running a close second to the Almighty! That being said, what these dolts (who consider themselves to be ‘city fathers’) fail to understand is that they are making neighboring counties and States very happy because with every nanny ordinance they pass, the tourist dollars go elsewhere (which can significantly reduce the city/county cofers). If I recall correctly, King Co Washington has some very nice waterways that are a draw for tourists, out of State sportsmen, etc. This ordinance will be a signal to those tourists to go elsewhere for their vacations. The clowns who passed this foolish nannyism may need to come up with an explanation for the citizens living there why they have to pay more in taxes in order to stay afloat. Too, isn’t it odd that just a handful of people can dictate how thousands can/should live? Where’s the referendum for the ballot box? Don’t the citizens have a right to determine what they want???? Unfortunately, this goes on across the US; elected officials, small and large, tell people how they must live in accordance to THEIR desires.

    • 45caliber

      They arent’ worried about tourist dollars – those go to businesses. They want the fines dollars that go to the government. The more laws you pass, the more likely someone will break one and be fined for it.

      As one lawyer once told me, it is impossible to NOT break at least one law a day, even if you stay home all day, because there are simply too many laws out there. Even the cops can’t NOT break them. They just look for someone in the act of breaking one simply to get the money from them.

  • Handyman

    Being a liberal already is a crime, it is called violating others freedoms. No new taxes, but new fines are ok.

  • Raggs

    You better have an extra life jacket for you bath tub.

  • JimH

    Boy, I don’t know how I ever made it out of childhood. All those miles on a bicycle with out a helmet.
    All those miles in a canoe, without a life jacket.
    All those miles in a car without child seats or seatbelts.
    Swimming and fishing without adult supervision.
    Football games without pads or helmets.
    Hockey same thing.
    Rock climbing and repalling.
    Exploring caves.
    Target shooting and hunting, without adult supervision.
    53 years and ” NOT DEAD YET”.
    Just call me “devil may care” Jim.

    • Dan az

      Jim its a good thing that they can’t make it retroactive we all would be in deep dodo!

  • RKZ777

    And how many times have you been to the bathroom today? Lets be honest now, the government wants you to pay your share of the bathroom tax, so that the environment is doobama clean. Its your duty as a responsible American, after all us Americans owe it to all the third world nations that we have been dumping on all this time, and remember to conserve on your flushes, you only get three per day! Wow that is just about what is has come to, and stay tuned for more. Remember you work for the government, not your family and their GOD GIVEN right to exist. And you definitely owe it all to the ones that crawl under the fence to get here, not the ones who knock on the door and fill out the application to become an American citizen.You got that now! Listen to your almighty leader in washington – barry.

  • Larry

    I am a PADI rescue diver. I guess this means I have to wear a life vest too. What a bunch of dumb asses

  • Montie R

    Your vote or NOT voting, put them in office. Put up or shut up .

  • Montie R

    Just more fodder for the darwin awards. To stupid to keep your kids OUT of danger you just helped cleanse the gene pool. The LAW is over the top, an against the constitution.

    • Vigilant

      It’s not unconstitutional unless it violates the state level constitution.

      The US Constitution is silent on this issue, as it should be. The Fed. Gov’t can not legally micromanage and restrict the states except in areas of general concern where the Constitution has specifically stipulated federal jurisdiction.

  • Mason

    Well, it’s better than hearing about someone drowning at least…

  • Mike

    They should also pass and ordanance that all City Counsel members wear “little beany caps” with propellars on them, at all times.

  • Scott B

    This law is way passed being over the top! What I haven’t seen anyone mention is the fact that the law states that anyone can be issued a ticket for not having a life jacket on if they are within 5 feet of the water. I personally take my dogs to the lake (golden retrievers), throw toys into the water and they love it. I also go fishing from shore at the local lakes and rivers. This means I will have to wear a life jacket or stay back more than 5 feet. Totally idiotic. I can see requiring them for rafters, jet ski’s, minor age swimmers, but not everyone. Going on a picnic anytime soon? Make sure you bring a tape measure.

  • Cawmun Cents

    C’mon people.Its about grabbing you hand right after you pop out of Mommy,and holding it while walking you through life,until you reach the grave.-CC.


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