Following the safety regulations on the river - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Following the safety regulations on the river

By Laura Geller - bio | email

Posted by Phil Riggan - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Firefighters were happy to see the three people they rescued today were in fact wearing life jackets. In Saturday's tragedy when a man drowned after falling from a rope swing, the victim did not have on a personal flotation device -- That's prompting the fire department to reiterate the rules.

The rule is pretty simple and does not change -- if the water level is above five feet, you must wear a life jacket. And today that rule applies as the water is over 6 1/2 feet. Dive team officials say they feel like broken records -- but still, the message does not seem to stick.

"Above five feet we cant stress that enough," said Lt. Stephen Forgett of the Richmond Fire Department. "These folks have to wear their personal floatation devices above five feet and there's a reason behind it. It's moving water, it will sweep your feet out from underneath you and take you places you don't want to go."

This is not just a safety tip -- the rule is actually written in law -- it's a city ordinance and officials say they will issue citations if they see people disobeying the regulation. Richmond police tell us they began their river patrols early this year because of the warm weather. They do have more officers watching the river on the weekends, when more people are out enjoying the summer sun.

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