Oswego fishermen talk about river safety

A panel of state and local agencies wanted to hear ideas to improve safety in the Oswego River from those affected most " fishermen. Many of the fishermen had questions of their own to ask as well. Several people at the meeting in downtown Oswego wanted more information from Brookfield Power about why rising water alarms at the Varick dam hadn't gone off for the 45 minutes before the water went up quickly on September 28th. Two fishermen died after they were swept down the Oswego River by high waters. Rick Hayden said he believes the timing of the high water alarm needs to improve.

"It has to work, said Hayden. When the water's coming up - we want the alarm on."

The dam's safety manager refused to answer questions at the meeting but said he wanted to listen to what the experienced fishermen had to say about the river.

Some suggestions included colored lights to warn fishermen of rising waters, a dedicated radio channel and rescue throw rings on the shore. Opinions were mixed on getting fishermen in the water to wear personal flotation devices. George Magaro said it just wasn't realistic to expect every fisherman to wear one.

"What are you going to do in inclement weather? Guys have all these heavy winter clothes on - now they have to put a PFD on, said Magaro. Now it's raining - where will the PFD be? It's going to be under their raincoat. So if they do inflate it - it's not going to help."

Michael Carpenter, who was nearly swept away on September 28th with his son, attended Wednesday night TMs meeting. Carpenter he was encouraged by the exchange of ideas.

"I did feel as though there were people trying to make it better, said Carpenter.

Agencies at the meeting will look over the ideas and there will be another meeting in a month to talk about the best options.