Safety enhancements in store for Lake Tapps

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by JOHN LANGELER / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @jlangelerKING5

KING5.com

Posted on May 14, 2014 at 12:53 AM

Updated Wednesday, May 14 at 9:03 AM

BONNEY LAKE -- Two new plans are being considered to make swimming in Lake Tapps safer, and in so doing, stop the trend of drownings here that has lingered for years.

"The only way to do that is to think out of the box," said Bonney Lake Police Sgt. Ryan Boyle, "Run with the simple ideas."

The first "simple" idea could be instituted by the summer.  It involves placing signs at the end of every dock on Lake Tapps, essentially an address found from the water.  That way, according to Sgt. Boyle, when an emergency call is made, the caller can easily find where they are.

"If you don't know where you are, we can't find you," he said.

The signage plan has already been presented to some Lake Tapps homeowners, and could be put in place very soon.

Another proposal still needs approval from the State Parks Commission and a source of funding.  The idea is to put two water temperature buoys at both ends of the lake, with real-time reports available on shore and online.

Cold water is a common cause of drowning.

While the ideas are positive, they fall short of what's really needed, according to Tina Lombard, who lost her son Robert Harris in a drowning incident nearly two years ago.

She has tried to get the county to have lifeguards staff the main parks around Lake Tapps.

"When I see kids out here playing," said Lombard near the spot her son died, "I want to grab them and tell them, are you aware of the dangers?"

Deputy Chief John McDonald from East Pierce County Fire and Rescue said Tuesday adding lifeguards is being considered, but could not elaborate.

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