low head dam kills another kayaker

low head dam kills kayakers

Our low head dam kills another kayaker

The low head dam on cypress creek has killed too many boaters and kayakers through the years.  The low head dam that city illiegally built back in the late 70's? is so much more menacing than it looks like.  Even when the creek is at normal levels it is dangerous. 

My dad and I organized and ran the Great Cypress Creek Raft Race a few decades ago.  The first few years of the race, there was no dam.  But after the dam was built, I kept hearing from racers that they had a close call.  That the dam pulled them down under the water, kept them down, stole their beer and coolers, that it was a close call.  Well, dealing with the public, honestly, at the time, I disregarded most of these "danger" comments.

That is, untill it happened to me (and my dog Wilber) ten years ago.  We were living in South Carolina at the time.  We were visiting family here in Florence, and didn't bring our kayak back with us.  So, my brother and I grabbed some innertubes and jumped in for the 5 hour float (in a very slow inner tube).  My brother elected to walk around the dam.  Wilber and I just floated on thru the small dam.  And, I think, we almost didn't come back up alive.  The very strong vortex, first held us under for way too long.  And, after we came up, it kept us about 10 feet from the dam, not allowing us to swim away from it for a bit. 

Well, since then, I have portage around this killer - dragging my fairly heavy long plastic kayak each time.

How many more deaths is it going to take before the City of Florence decides to do something about this killer?  My thought this morning, is that it might be a good "value" to the city to purchase some land just below the dam, and build a parking and safe "put in" area for boaters.  Seems less expensive than more deaths or moving the dam upstream, above the Cox Creek Parkway launch area.

Here's Boatsafe.com's info on low head dams

Our low head dam kills another kayaker

 

Robin Wade