Is Blackman’s Lake dock safe?
SNOHOMISH - On a recent Saturday morning a Snohomish resident helped rescue an elderly man who had fallen off a dock and into Blackman’s Lake.
The Snohomish resident who didn’t want his name published said the dock’s lack of railings and unsafe design is what caused the “near drowning,” in his opinion. The incident happened May 4 at about 11 a.m.
“If there wouldn’t have been anybody there, there’s no way he could’ve made it,” the resident said. The resident said the man who fell in said he was 92.
City Manager Larry Bauman had not yet heard about the incident when contacted by the Tribune and said he didn’t know of any similar accidents at that dock, located at the lake’s Avenue A boat launch.
The resident said the dock platform is too high from the water and the elderly man couldn’t pull himself up onto the dock. A fisherman who was fishing on the dock that day couldn’t pull him up either. So the resident grabbed a rope from his vehicle and the fisherman towed the fallen man toward the shoreline until he could touch the bottom.
“He was a gruff old man, and he said ‘I’m fine, you guys can leave me alone now’,” the resident said. “About four or five minutes later, he got into a car and left. He seemed just fine.”
The resident said the man didn’t want an ambulance to come and check out his health.
Snohomish resident Bob Heirman has been vocal about his concerns with this dock. Bauman is aware of Heirman’s complaints, but Bauman remains supportive of the dock’s safety.
“This is a standard dock design,” Bauman said. “These types of docks without railings are used all over the world. It creates easier access for boaters and that’s one of the principal uses of the dock.”
The dock’s design was supplied by the city’s parks department and the Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The resident who helped rescue the elderly man says the design is dangerous for older people and for small children.
“It’s way too far out of the water and there’s no railing on it,” he said. “It’s about eight inches out of the water and when you fall off, you or I could probably pull ourselves up, but there’s no way this old man could have.”
“It’s a real poor excuse for a lake dock,” he said.
The resident said he likes to take his family out on Blackman’s Lake and uses his boat to fish and enjoy the water. His two young granddaughters enjoy walking out onto the dock on the east side of the lake at Hill Park, which has railings, and peering through the slats to watch fish swim by.
But if that dock were to be replaced with a similar no-rail design, he said he would think twice before bringing his family out on the lake.
“If they were to replace that dock with the same design as the one with the near drowning, what are we going to do,” he said. “There’s no way my two little granddaughters will walk out on that dock.”
The city doesn’t currently have plans to replace the Hill Park dock with a no-rail design.
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