On Aug. 10, three friends and I went on a float on the Edisto. We left from Givhans Landing State Park and ended at the boat landing. We took no alcohol. We stayed together. We were aware that the current was strong, and we knew that once we spotted the boat landing we should make sure not to pass it.
By the time we realized that the landing was coming up, however, it was difficult to make the landing due to the current and not being on the left side of the river. Two of us were able to get to the landing, two were not.
The problem was that there was no warning that the landing was coming up. It is on a bend and once you round that bend, it is almost too late to get to it, unless you happen to be on the left side of the river.
But what happened when I got out of the water truly amazed me.
I heard screams from one of my friends. When I went on the path to reach her and the other friend who were both hanging onto tree limbs after losing their rafts, I was walking behind two police officers heading to the screams. One of them asked me if I had ever floated the river before.
I found it amazing that with screams in the distance, there was no sense of urgency from either officer. Neither officer had a rope or any life-saving device in his hands.
Thankfully, by the time we got to my two friends one had been able to get out on her own and the other was helped to shore by two young men.
Back at the landing with all four of us safe, the officers showed no real relief or interest in our safety other than to ask how often we have floated this river.
When I suggested putting up a sign to warn floaters that the landing was near, one officer told me that even with 100 signs people would ignore them.
Let me say that even with many stop signs, some are ignored. Even with red lights people drive through them. But that does not negate their importance.
A sign is not only necessary on the river, it is imperative.
I want to thank the two young men who helped my friend.
To the two officers I want to say, please show some interest and urgency in your attempt to save those you are there to protect. Then they just might appreciate the lecture that seemed to be your only action that day.
Rio Vista Lane
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