Jail Time For Swimming Near Boat Docks Proposed In Richland - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Jail Time For Swimming Near Boat Docks Proposed In Richland

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Swimming in certain public areas in the City of Richland could soon get you up to a year in jail. Swimming in certain public areas in the City of Richland could soon get you up to a year in jail.
RICHLAND, WA - Swimming in certain public areas in the City of Richland could soon get you up to a year in jail.

It sure is one way to get people's attention when enforcing restricted swimming areas in the city. Swimming is already banned in many areas around public docks used by boats, but this new law would make swimming in one of these areas a gross misdemeanor. That would include possibly serving one year behind bars or thousands of dollars in fines.

Parks and Public Facilities director Joe Schiessl tells NBC Right Now there would be a community education aspect to the new rules. The more severe punishments would only come after warnings and in cases where there is clear disregard. Some locals we met with think the punishment would still be too much.

"Maybe if they did mark it off a little better so that you could know that you were in the area...fining isn't necessarily bad if you could just get a reasonable amount because I'm sure most people aren't doing it negligently on purpose," said Denise Swanson who swims in the public area with her family.

There's already a separate dock along the Columbia down at Howard Amon Park just for swimmers as well as many wading pools. City officials say the restrictions are meant to keep swimmers safe around docks with high boat traffic. The bigger fines will be given to repeat offenders.

The proposed legislation will be discussed again during the Richland City Council meeting on August 19th.