Login required to started new threads

Login required to post replies

Prev Next
Open water swimming BANNED in MA
Quote | Reply
  
This is a developing story so bear with me as the details are likely to evolve.


In short, the Baker administration is looking to increase fines/encorcement for swimming "outside of designated areas" at all state managed property including parks and beaches. This effectively bans OWS at a majority of locations in the state popular with triathletes. This is in response to several recent drownings in the state, some of which occured on state property. It remains unclear if any of the victims were experienced swimmers, but it doesn't seem likely that this was the case. Obviously this remains a tragedy - but I believe the actions taken by the state to "prevent it" are both short-sighted and misdirected.

DCR, who manages Walden Pond, one of the (most famous) and most popular OWS destinations in New England, implemented an immediate and indefinite ban on OWS starting today. Reportedly, swimmers were turned away at the gates, and park hours were also updated to reflect the change, as there was a large contingent of swimmers who would arrive in the early morning. Other locations such as Pleasure Bay, Carson Beach, Mystic Lakes, and Nahant, would also be included in the legislation.

This will undoubtedly have a immediate and negative impact on the triathlon community in the state. As a personal anecdote, I would swim at one of these locations (Walden, Pleasure Bay, Mystic Lakes) at least once or twice a week throughout the season. As I have no access to a pool, and public pools have discontinued lap swim, this was really my only option for swim training, along with many others in the same boat. Without access to these water bodies for training, I would feel nowhere near as safe or comfortable in the water at races as I do today.

An amendment suggested by many local swimmers would be to allow swimming ONLY with a swim buoy, or administer some form of swim test.

I'm really at a loss for what to do now... and am both saddened and frustrated by the short-sighted and passive response to a much larger issue around safety in the Commonwealth.

Hope this sparks some discussion and ideas on how to reach out to legislators and elected officials to voice concerns over the impact of the proposed and immediate changes.








News articles:









Clubs/Affiliations: The Rippers / Charles River Wheelers / Cambridge Sports Union
Last edited by: adoucett: Jul 2, 21 12:25
Quote Reply
Re: Open water swimming BANNED in MA [adoucett] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
What’s the penalty if caught? I bet it’s not high.
Quote Reply
Re: Open water swimming BANNED in MA [Tribike53] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
According to the articles, Gov. Baker is looking to increase fines to $500 - As far as enforcement goes, yes one could "sneak around" and maybe get away with it... but this just puts swimmers at even more safety risk than before. Like anything, one can imagine enforcement will be rather "choosy" and unbalanced as well, with certain people/groups likely targeted more than others.

It's not so much the money... but instead the idea that one cannot swim safely and legally under this paradigm. If there was some alternative strategy they were asking for...that would be one thing, but this effectively takes away everything!

Walden was somewhat of a sanctuary to the sport and cherished by generations of swimmers. From a "safety in numbers" perspective, there would be about a dozen other people OWS at any given time of day, and even as many as hundreds on prime weekend days, especially during COVID when pools closed.

Clubs/Affiliations: The Rippers / Charles River Wheelers / Cambridge Sports Union
Last edited by: adoucett: Jul 2, 21 11:07
Quote Reply
Re: Open water swimming BANNED in MA [adoucett] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
Wow didn’t expect the 500, that is steep. Dumb rule
Quote Reply
Re: Open water swimming BANNED in MA [adoucett] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
OMG, I'm really sorry about this! I live north of you (several hours). And if this happened in my state many of us would be devastated, myself included. So I feel your pain. I hope other states don't follow this example. One of my favorite OWS spots is a state park on a beautiful large reservoir. The only reason it's safe for open water swimming is that motorized boats are not allowed. So there are lots of kayaks, canoes and a big handful of open water swimmers. I'm very lucky. If this was taken away by state officials and new rules, I would be seriously depressed. I probably would still continue to swim there but maybe a bit earlier (before 6am). I do have a wonderful pond down the road for open water swimming but the reservoir is spectacular and you can really do some nice big swims there.

I don't have any solutions to offer, other than trying to work with other triathletes and have discussions with those who are making these new rules. (if that's even possible).

You could also move up north :-)

Death is easy....peaceful. Life is harder.
Quote Reply
Re: Open water swimming BANNED in MA [adoucett] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
That totally sucks, but Massachusetts is one of the top 10 states people are leaving. Looks like one more reason to leave. When crap like that happens, the basic courses of action are: 1) change the government; or 2) leave the government.
Quote Reply
Re: Open water swimming BANNED in MA [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
This sucks. There is a petition going on, but I think they've sent it already https://docs.google.com/...Ot7Da8aropcGmr8/edit so it's too late to add your name if you want.

Unfortunately, politician jobs are difficult enough, with all those embezzlements and attempts to stay in power. They normally don't have time or resources to solve any complex issues like sport safety or, I dunno, pandemic.
I can understand why they go for the cheapest option - forbid everything.
Quote Reply
Re: Open water swimming BANNED in MA [ask77nl] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
Try to find some private water or water not subject to the rule.

Failing that swim in less conspicuous bodies of water. I agree this completely defeats the purpose of the ridiculous rule.

I generally don’t get too miffed at dumb politicians, but this is apparently where I draw the line.
Quote Reply
Re: Open water swimming BANNED in MA [adoucett] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
What BS and based on previous posts here about Walden Pond, it seems like it's been simmering for a while. I know there was a recent Worcester police drowning during an attempted rescue so that probably didn't help. I will be contacting my state senator to complain. Thanks for posting
Quote Reply
Re: Open water swimming BANNED in MA [Tri.Tony] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
24 drownings in last 8 weeks in MA and a shortage of life guards at state and municipal swim areas. I get the need for the ban and expect some future adjustments by Gov. Baker. Short term inconvenience for a small number of MA OWS (including me). We worked around/through the pandemic, we can deal with this. Sorry, just don’t feel the outrage.
Quote Reply
Re: Open water swimming BANNED in MA [PowerPlay] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
That’s fine. I’m just not so sure it’s the ows crowd who are the likely drowning victims.
Quote Reply
Re: Open water swimming BANNED in MA [adoucett] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
4th of July coming up too.
Land of the Free, eh?

Same dumbass politicians both side of the Pond. (Many of our bodies of water in my region are owned by Severn Trent water. And they have the same backwards approach too - albeit it's a civil trespass offence not criminal). So people still swim, but early morning and late eve and just ignore Ranger Smith when he shows up and whinges.)

Just like banning BASE from Yosemite - it drives it underground instead and actually becomes less safe. Just dumb.

Hope you find a way around it.
Quote Reply
Re: Open water swimming BANNED in MA [adoucett] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
None of your links work. Has the state been successfully sued by decedents of those who have drowned on state land? In Ohio we don't even have lifeguards at our state park beaches anymore. It is swim at your own risk.

If the state isn't losing $ because of lawsuits, I assume the legislature is considering these changes because it is being pressured by citizens concerned about safety. Are there any swimmers or triathletes in the MA legislature who can advocate for serious OW swimmers?

I just finished reading Walden again. I wonder what Thoreau would have thought about this.

I'm glad I got a chance to swim to the middle of Walden Pond during a visit to Boston.
Last edited by: Mark Lemmon: Jul 2, 21 12:24
Quote Reply
Re: Open water swimming BANNED in MA [adoucett] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
I’m pretty sure it’s not those doing OWS who are drowning. Similar to Aaron, Walden is my only swimming option currently. Will have to look at other options that are farther away. Drownings suck (obviously), but restricting OWS isn’t the issue here.

Blog: http://262toboylstonstreet.blogspot.com/
https://twitter.com/NateThomasTri
Coaching: https://bybtricoaching.com/ - accepting athletes for 2024
Quote Reply
Re: Open water swimming BANNED in MA [adoucett] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
Me again, I was just looking at Walden pond via google maps. Are there other entries into the water that are not on the state park entrance/beach? Could you hike in and swim somewhere? And if you could, do it early in the morning.

So the pond down the road from me has a state boat lunch on the other side and no swimming is allowed over there. So basically the general public can't swim in this particular pond unless they paddled out and swam from their boat. I swim from a landowner's private property with permission. They own a good chunk of land around the pond. I sometimes bike to their house and walk down to their pier. Or I bike down to their camp on another point and swim from there. (very lucky)

I'm mentioning this because maybe you could find a body of water where you could swim from if you knew some land owners. Or even introduced yourself and explained your need to OWS (triathlon training) from their property.

It makes me sad and angry learning about your state officials taking away OWS from folks who are not the problem. (we are not the ones drowning, needing rescue, leaving garbage, dirty diapers...ok I'm digressing as I've seen what the general public can do to a beautiful place). If it happens in MA it could happen in other New England states :-(

Death is easy....peaceful. Life is harder.
Quote Reply
Re: Open water swimming BANNED in MA [adoucett] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
This is a major bummer. I don’t swim anymore, but in my tri days for a decade or so Walden was my swim training location. Awesome place near Boston for swimming. I saw this in the works for a while as they tried to ban OWS off and on the past 10 years or so. It doesn’t help that and OWSwimmer or 2 died at some point in the recent past at Walden.

Locally, I’ve seen COVID times as a major period of reducing public access to recreation. Beach access and now this Walden thing. For Walden, the swim buoy requirement makes perfect sense, but I bet the state doesn’t want liability for any more deaths on their land. There have been an incredible amount of drownings lately, many on state owned land.
Quote Reply
Re: Open water swimming BANNED in MA [adoucett] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
Farm pond is municipal, open to public before 8am and better than Walden

Now, here in Boulder, ows is non existent unless you live in a lake

wovebike.com | Wove on instagram
Quote Reply
Re: Open water swimming BANNED in MA [exxxviii] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
exxxviii wrote:
That totally sucks, but Massachusetts is one of the top 10 states people are leaving. Looks like one more reason to leave. When crap like that happens, the basic courses of action are: 1) change the government; or 2) leave the government.


Yep and many are moving to Vermont lol. If loads of people keep moving here then I would prefer to see more triathletes move into VT :-) I'm trying to organize a Friday morning group swim from the Green River Reservoir. This morning it was just 3 of us in the light rain. But it was a beautiful swim in one of the most amazing open water swim spots. No motorboats and the state park loves the open water swimmers. PM me if interested about the group swim or moving here. Winters are longer, colder, taxes are crazy high, the deer flies are desperate, but I wouldn't live anywhere else.

Death is easy....peaceful. Life is harder.
Quote Reply
Re: Open water swimming BANNED in MA [PowerPlay] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
3 drownings a week over relatively warm months is not a shocking number in a state of 6 million. In Europe about one drowning a week per 3 million people would be typical throughout the year, but almost all of these happen between mid-May and late August, so it is more like 1 per 1 million a week in the warm months.

"FTP is a bit 2015, don't you think?" - Gustav Iden
Last edited by: kajet: Jul 2, 21 13:18
Quote Reply
Re: Open water swimming BANNED in MA [adoucett] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
I’m not familiar with the setup at Walden Pond. What’s the problem with swimming within the “designated areas.”

Sharon McN
@IronCharo
#TeamZoot
Clif Bar Pace Team 2003-2018
Quote Reply
Re: Open water swimming BANNED in MA [kajet] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
kajet wrote:
3 drownings a week over relatively warm months is not a shocking number in a state of 6 million. In Europe about one drowning a week per 3 million people would be typical throughout the year, but almost all of these happen between mid-May and late August, so it is more like 1 per 1 million a week in the warm months.

The good thing about European socialism is that one can’t just go out and sue the government frivolously, if one gets hurt/dies by their own negligence and stupidity.

Also, here in the US, if I as a lakeside property owner give explicit consent that you can swim from my property, I do open myself up to all kinds of liabilities.

This also would be considered frivolous in socialist countries.

On the topic:
Break the stupid rule and swim at night.
I sometimes do that. It’s really special.
Quote Reply
Re: Open water swimming BANNED in MA [adoucett] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
adoucett wrote:

This is a developing story so bear with me as the details are likely to evolve.


In short, the Baker administration is looking to increase fines/encorcement for swimming "outside of designated areas" at all state managed property including parks and beaches. This effectively bans OWS at a majority of locations in the state popular with triathletes. This is in response to several recent drownings in the state, some of which occured on state property. It remains unclear if any of the victims were experienced swimmers, but it doesn't seem likely that this was the case. Obviously this remains a tragedy - but I believe the actions taken by the state to "prevent it" are both short-sighted and misdirected.

DCR, who manages Walden Pond, one of the (most famous) and most popular OWS destinations in New England, implemented an immediate and indefinite ban on OWS starting today. Reportedly, swimmers were turned away at the gates, and park hours were also updated to reflect the change, as there was a large contingent of swimmers who would arrive in the early morning. Other locations such as Pleasure Bay, Carson Beach, Mystic Lakes, and Nahant, would also be included in the legislation.

This will undoubtedly have a immediate and negative impact on the triathlon community in the state. As a personal anecdote, I would swim at one of these locations (Walden, Pleasure Bay, Mystic Lakes) at least once or twice a week throughout the season. As I have no access to a pool, and public pools have discontinued lap swim, this was really my only option for swim training, along with many others in the same boat. Without access to these water bodies for training, I would feel nowhere near as safe or comfortable in the water at races as I do today.

An amendment suggested by many local swimmers would be to allow swimming ONLY with a swim buoy, or administer some form of swim test.

I'm really at a loss for what to do now... and am both saddened and frustrated by the short-sighted and passive response to a much larger issue around safety in the Commonwealth.

Hope this sparks some discussion and ideas on how to reach out to legislators and elected officials to voice concerns over the impact of the proposed and immediate changes.

News articles:





Astonishingly stupid.
Quote Reply
Re: Open water swimming BANNED in MA [SharonMcN] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
SharonMcN wrote:
I’m not familiar with the setup at Walden Pond. What’s the problem with swimming within the “designated areas.”

Its usually a very small area filled with families and kids. Worse than a pool with no lane lines on a rainy day. Even early in the morning it wouldn't be appealing turning around every 100 or so yards. Might as well swim in a pool.

Death is easy....peaceful. Life is harder.
Quote Reply
Re: Open water swimming BANNED in MA [milesthedog] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
milesthedog wrote:
Farm pond is municipal, open to public before 8am and better than Walden

Now, here in Boulder, ows is non existent unless you live in a lake

I used to live in Lafayette, isn't the Boulder reservoir or Union reservoir still available?

Professional interests in Genomics, Bioinformatics, Hardware/Software interfaces, sports interests are running from 800 to half marathon, sprint tri to half iron, cycling road races

https://brave.com/ - A safer and faster way to browse the web
https://www.strava.com/athletes/3757906
Quote Reply
Re: Open water swimming BANNED in MA [adoucett] [ In reply to ]
Quote | Reply
Just printed out my Beede 3 month membership form - I wonder how many folks in the area will do this?

Blog: http://262toboylstonstreet.blogspot.com/
https://twitter.com/NateThomasTri
Coaching: https://bybtricoaching.com/ - accepting athletes for 2024
Quote Reply

Prev Next