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SallyGrowler

Waders don't deserve lethal reputation

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http://www.nj.com/sports/ledger/inde...500.xml&coll=1

 

Tuesday, June 06, 2006 BY FRED J. AUN

 

For the Star-Ledger

The death of a Montville fisherman on Saturday is a tragic reminder that fishing can be dangerous, but it shouldn't be seen as proof that waders are unsafe.

 

Nobody really knows what happened to Justin Everrett except that the 44-year-old angler drowned near the junction of the rain-swollen Beaverkill and Willow Weemoc rivers in Roscoe, N.Y. It's not that nobody was there to see it: four of the Morris County residents' friends watched in horror.

 

They saw him slip while crossing a 75-foot-wide part of the stream and they saw him get swept to a place where the depth suddenly increases drastically -- going from about two feet deep to about 16 feet.

 

 

But here is where we encounter a problem, an assumption unfortunately based on a tenacious myth. Some are saying it was Everrett's engorged waders that killed him. Consider one news report, where the writer -- citing a New York State Police investigator -- wrote that "Everrett's chest waders filled with water and, like anchors, pulled him down. ..."

 

 

If waders turn into "anchors" when filled with water, the angling community might have lost one of the 20th Century's greatest trout fishing icons -- Lee Wulff -- long before his death in 1991 at the age of 86. In the 1940s, Wulff gathered some outdoors writers and staged a somewhat famous demonstration designed to dispel the myth about waders morphing into lethal anchors or, conversely, into balloons of trapped air that flip anglers onto their submerged heads.

 

Wulff slipped into his waders and jumped off a bridge (in February) into about 30 feet of water. His waders quickly filled to the brim, but Wulff didn't sink like the Titanic or float feet-first like a bobber. He simply swam to shore.

 

Despite Wulff's gallant attempt at dispelling it, the myth of killer waders survives. A report in the Great Falls Tribune of Montana described the November 2005 drowning death of an angler named Benson who slipped in the Missouri River while trying to release a fish. "The chest-high waders that Benson was wearing filled with water and pulled him under," said the paper.

 

In a stream situation, there are a few seconds when water rushing into waders can cause an angler to lose balance. But Wulff tried to show that once the waders are full, the water inside them is no heavier than the water in the stream and they're pretty much irrelevant to an angler's ability to survive.

If an angler can swim without waders, he or she can probably swim with them. Those who can't swim should avoid wading or use inflatable vests. And everybody should be using a wading stick, especially in fast water.

The real danger, aside from hitting heads on rocks and losing consciousness, is panic. Often, those unaccustomed to swimming in moving water flail, fight the current and succumb.

Note what the investigator said happened when two of Everrett's friends tried to save him: "The current was too strong. They had to back off." Even if it's only two feet deep, strong current can kill you, waders or not.

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Even if it's only two feet deep, strong current can kill you, waders or not.

 

Yup.

Delaware Water Gap (and surely many, MANY other palces) has plenty of spots where I can bary stand up in a knee-deep water.

 

.......it's media, and they do what they do best: gain your att. no matter what the truth is.

-99

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I think that all things equal, , if i fall down, i'm much more at risk with waders on.... I've had to swim out of a lake with sweat pants on.. fell out of a boat..redface.gif it was very difficult to swim with the sweats saturated with water.. and it was cold.. i'm not mark spitz (thank goodness), but at the time was in my 20's and very healthy...

 

not sure the point of your post (not arguing it either), but i think that it is imperative that folks fishing in waders use caution.. maybe you are only referring to rivers, of which I have little or no knowledge, but in the ocean, if you are wearing chest waders without a belt, you are in danger...

 

again, not trying to start an argument, but don't want anyone new to wading to take a cavalier attitude in the surf....wink.gif

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not sure the point of your post (not arguing it either), but i think that it is imperative that folks fishing in waders use caution.. maybe you are only referring to rivers, of which I have little or no knowledge, but in the ocean, if you are wearing chest waders without a belt, you are in danger...

 

No problem.

 

Aun points out that it was the NY State Police vis-a-vis the press reporting a myth as fact. Rather than rely on science or provide other contributing factors, they trotted out a myth and put a stamp on it.

 

When Lee Wulff dispelled this myth in the 1940's chances are he was wearing rubberized canvas waders, not neoprene, not breathers, and more than likely, no wading belt.

 

I am not posting this to infer less caution. I'd rather see the media at large (as well as investigating LE ) be a bit more judicious when presenting the facts.

 

Without challenging this report, hysteria over 'deadly waders' would be forthcoming, as we have seen in a number of threads and this an other sites. Besides, why give personal injury lawyers the ammo to put your wader manufacturer out of business?

 

Know the waters and know your limits before you venture.

 

No disrespect to the demised and his family and friends.

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KNOW how to get out, be aware, know how to take yout top off and know when to loose the waders, prob takes 20 secounds.Once panic sets in , reality goes out the window.Cheaper to buy new waders than ones life.

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I was fishing the Cowlitz river in Washington a million years ago and I went in with my neoprenes on. The current was really moving and I was soon in water over my head. They actually acted as a bouyant device and enabled me to use the current to move towards shore. I always hear about neoprenes being dangerous. I always wear a wading belt and Korkers when I'm on the rocks and as yet I haven't fallen in ( except getting bowled over by a wave on the beach once landing a fish ) and I don't plan on it. I was wondering has anyone here gone in with Neo's and what was their experience?confused.gif

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Hi Sally,

I am going to beg to differ on the question of water safety and the wearing of waders. So I am going to post my reply hear that I also posted in your other thred too. Nothing personal I just think we all don't know enough.

 

Sally,

So Mr Wulf made his dramtic dive and lived to tell the tale. Sorry but this proves absolutaly nothing. It was just one situation. We are faced with surfs of varying intensity, fast currents, eddy currents, obsticules and cold water and darkness. Then there is the factor of age and fitnesss, ability to swim on part of the Fisher to take into account. The more I read these posts the more BS I see.

You can hit me with all the science you want regarding displacement and weight of water etc but what counts is what actually happens in the water when you are fully clothed and in trouble. We need to replicate as many situations as we can in a controled envoiramentand darned well find out for sure . Pontificating in this area and having high brow scientific views is a to my mind a waste of time and potentially more lives.

If I was to believe all that I have read in this very good thread then no one should drown whilst wearing waders because it can't happen. Sure individuals could have drowned irrespective of whether they were wearing waders or not. But I can tell you from practical experince that I would rather be tumbled over by a big surf wearing a wet suit than my chest waders, and would rather I got swept out to sea in my wet suit in a rip when accidentaly stepping into a cut in a sand bar. All these things have happened to me. Until we, or an independant authority sorts out the real truth about waders and water safety then I am going to treat wearing mine with the utmost caution. Only a fool would do otherwise. I think you need to think long and hard about your other post on this forum to as to what you are trying to achieve. Until we really know then it is prudent to exercise caution. We have to protect our kids to, who tend to have a very laid back attitude to safety and who also read these boards. Please just have a re-think on your position. Lets get practical rather than mainly theoretical.

 

 

Mike O.

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I may do this. Feel free to beat me to it:

 

I am a former competitive swimmer and quite confident of those abilities. I'm thinking of going into 2-4' of currentless water and purposefully swamping my waders. Smart thing to do would be having a couple of guys there with ropes in case of worst case scenario. It'd be interesting to learn the myth / reality of impact of swamped waders.

 

I'm beginning to think it is a lot like quicksand. If you remain calm you may even float, if you panic you sink like a stone.

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Pontificating in this area and having high brow scientific views is a to my mind a waste of time and potentially more lives

 

Hope your not referring to my post... I copy pasted an article to point out that the cops and press were 'careless' in the assertion that "The WADERS KILLED THE MAN" even after other aggravating evidence was offered.

 

I was wondering has anyone here gone in with Neo's and what was their experience?confused.gif

 

Got swamped and knocked over. Water in the boots and all. I didn't try to 'kick-off' my neos. I was in about 4 feet of water in nasty surf.

I panicked when I went down but got my head up and knees under me quick enough to get up and out.

At chest high, I was bouyant; It felt heavy when I stood in the wash about knee high.

It was like wearing lead boots when I walked on to the beach.

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