OSWEGO, NY – If you’re fishing in the Oswego River, you’ll need a personal floatation device to keep safe.
The river is very quick, and conditions can change in a matter of minutes.
It is especially dangerous for the fishermen wading in the shallow waters near the Varick Dam.
Water levels can change very quickly near the dam, and fishermen can find themselves in trouble with no way out of the water.
Fishermen are being reminded that life jackets are required for those wading in the water, and are highly recommended even for those on shore.
The Oswego Fire Department’s “Loaner For Life” program offers free life jacket rentals for area residents.
Those in need can visit the east side fire station, sign out a vest, and return it later that day or even a couple of days later, at no cost.
This free loaner program has been funded by donations by local supporters such as Brookfield Power, Excelon, and most recently by the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary.
Members of the USCG and the USCG Auxiliary supported the recent Oswego Fire Department open house, and delivered a check for $200 to help purchase more vests for the loaner program.
Oswego Fire Chief Jeff McCrobie said, “We have a great working relationship with the United States Coast Guard and Auxiliary and we appreciate the support of the Loaner For Life program. On a good day, we loan out more than 50 life jackets that help keep people safe in the water.”
McCrobie noted that some fishermen from outside the area may not know that the life jackets are required for wading in the river and find themselves scrambling to get one.
“We have had fishermen come to the fire station for life jackets as early as 4 a.m. We have exhausted our supply of life jackets on several occasions, and this donation from the auxiliary will help us purchase more at no cost to the taxpayers,” the chief said.
The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary is a volunteer organization that supports the US Coast Guard in its efforts of keeping people safe on the water.
According to USCG Auxiliary Commander John Carpenter, “The auxiliary focuses on boating safety, and offers free vessel inspections, as well as boater safety courses. We also perform water safety patrols, search and rescue and partner with other local agencies such as the Oswego Fire Department to educate the public on the importance of life jacket use.”
For more information about water safety, boating safety or life jacket use, please contact the Oswego Fire Department at (315) 343-2161 or the USCG Auxiliary at [email protected]