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  #21  
Old 15 June 2016, 08:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cervus View Post
"No Swimming" = "There is at least one potentially dangerous thing in this body of water, and possibly more, but in the interest of brevity we are not going to list every potential hazard you might encounter, so we presume you all know what we mean by No Swimming."

I've never seen anyone question what a No Swimming sign means. It's a generic sign that means don't go in the water, for whatever reason.
Again: it does not mean, everywhere and in every place, that there is anything more dangerous than 'there is water here and if you go out beyond your depth you might drown in it.'

I have seen lots of people ignore No Swimming signs, under the presumption that what they mean, in the given area, is 'We do not want to be held responsible if you drown.' And I would certainly not take one to mean 'don't even dip your foot or hand in the water'; at least, not in an area generally accessible to the public. I will remember to do so if I again ever find myself in Florida.

ETA: I think that in New York State "swim at your own risk" is not considered sufficient protection against liability suits. I agree that it should be; but I'm not writing the liability laws.
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  #22  
Old 15 June 2016, 08:30 PM
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Yeah, even in Florida, "No Swimming" isn't really sufficient warning. Something more like "Health Risk: stay away from water" might be better.
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  #23  
Old 15 June 2016, 08:46 PM
jimmy101_again jimmy101_again is offline
 
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The sign probably should be more specific. There are non-safety reasons for posting a "no swimming" sign including avoidance of liability and protection of potable water sources.
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  #24  
Old 15 June 2016, 09:04 PM
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It seems like the only reason the sign needs to be made more specific is so that people can choose to disregard it.

In this particular case, I would guess there were multiple reasons for the sign. Alligator attacks was probably a long shot reason. Do they need to list all the reasons?
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  #25  
Old 15 June 2016, 09:07 PM
Sooeygun Sooeygun is offline
 
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They found the boy.

The sheriff is saying drowning by alligator.
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  #26  
Old 15 June 2016, 09:10 PM
Dr. Dave Dr. Dave is offline
 
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How awful. I thought the alligator had eaten him.
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  #27  
Old 15 June 2016, 09:18 PM
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Tragic, so sorry for the family.
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  #28  
Old 15 June 2016, 10:46 PM
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I've learned that one has to be careful of the shoreline, esp. at night. People here have lost dogs by walking them by the edge of the water. A golfer lost an arm just reaching into the water for his ball. The large gators will hunt at the shoreline. They are hoping for a deer or wild boar or other animal to stop and take a drink. If something does come to the water's edge an aggressive one will strike first and figure out after they grab it and drown it whether it's something they want.

This really is a terrible story.
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  #29  
Old 15 June 2016, 10:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beachlife! View Post
It seems like the only reason the sign needs to be made more specific is so that people can choose to disregard it.
Huh?

The reason for making the sign more specific would be so that people would be less likely to disregard it -- or for that matter to misunderstand it.

The photo along with the article Sooeygun just posted shows beach chairs very close to the water (I thought at first that one of them was actually in the water, but on a second look I think it's just sunk into the sand.) That would not indicate to me that dangerous creatures were likely to be found at the edge of the water; it indicates that Disney expected people to come right down to the edge. Expecting none of them to go a step or two further and put their feet in the water because of a no swimming sign doesn't seem reasonable to me.

The article, however, also seems to say that alligators -- or at least "nuisance alligators" -- weren't usually found in the area; so maybe Disney didn't expect there to be alligators there either. (Though I don't know how one determines whether an alligator is likely to pose a nuisance or not. And this strikes me as rather more than a nuisance.)
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  #30  
Old 15 June 2016, 11:19 PM
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A Turtle Named Mack A Turtle Named Mack is offline
 
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tl, I agree that there needs to be more explicit signage - and removal of the chairs from so close to the shore - because the danger is not limited to being in the water. Alligators are ambush predators, and if motivated will rise up with legs fully beneath them and run at some 30 mph for modest distances. Their joints are not well-positioned for doing this regularly, but for a burst of speed it is worth the effort to them. Here is a NatGeo article about it - it says that crocodiles will actually gallop, but alligators have only been observed once doing it. Because they have little endurance on land, people can generally outrun them. However, toddlers and people in chairs are not generally prepared to put on an adult-human's speed. Here's another good article on safety around alligators.

Generally alligators are not aggressive toward humans, and if near water, will retreat to the water when humans encroach - unless it is a mama guarding her nest or babies (but the babies will be in the water). The mamas are every bit as protective as mama bears, and because their nests are immobile, they do not suffer encroachment at all. I have read that generally, if an alligator is neither cornered nor protecting young, when well-fed they will pretty much ignore other animals. It's kind of like sharks swimming amongst the other fish - the other fish barely pay them any mind, until the sharks go into hunting mode, and experience proves that to be a reasonable response. I have heard of places where people can see alligators as a tourist attraction at which the owners regularly feed the alligators as much as they want, either as part of a show or when the tourists are not around; when well-fed, they are pretty safe (not that I am going to pet them!) Disney was likely to have been feeding them to keep them docile as well, but I do not know.
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  #31  
Old 16 June 2016, 12:49 AM
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ATNM, there are myths in your post. Also, what is the source of your "good article" .pdf? It has some myths and contradictions in it as well. This source seems accurate. http://crocodilian.com/cnhc/cbd-faq-q4.htm.

As for swimming where there might be alligators, and no swimming signs... If any place where there could be a gator had to have a sign, then all sources of fresh water in Florida would have to have signs. I would not take a no swimming sign as an indication that there were gators there. I also would not take it to mean that you should not set foot in the water. I would think that it was either directed at limiting liability, as TL described, or that there was an amoeba issue, which would mean that you should not submerge your head or otherwise get water in your ears, or there were dangerous currents, etc. IOW, I would take it to refer to actual swimming.

I grew up in Florida, and I used to swim in two lakes. One was in a park and had lifeguards etc., and there issues with the amoeba. Gators were a possibility, but I don't recall ever seeing one. The other lake was one that I lived a few hundred feet from, and could access via our neighbor's dock. We knew there were gators in that lake, but never saw any around where we swam--we saw them from a boat, hanging out at the other end of the lake where there were more weeds.

I think it's a shame to essentially victim blame this child's family for not taking a no swimming sign to mean that alligators were present and aggressive in the area, and that even approaching close to the water would present a severe hazard. That is not reasonably conveyed by that sign, and it smacks of a just world fallacy.
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  #32  
Old 16 June 2016, 05:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Dave View Post
How awful. I thought the alligator had eaten him.
Alligators and crocs will stash food for later.


Yosemite has signs warning people not to cross the barricade or swim in the Merced above the falls. People disregard them, climb over the fence and get swept away over the falls.
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  #33  
Old 16 June 2016, 01:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kitap View Post
Yosemite has signs warning people not to cross the barricade or swim in the Merced above the falls. People disregard them, climb over the fence and get swept away over the falls.
Probably, however, fewer of them than if there were no fence, but instead a batch of chairs sitting at the water's edge and a "no swimming" sign posted that gave no reasons as to why it was there.

Nothing you post is going to discourage everybody. That doesn't seem to me a good reason not to provide information to those who will pay attention to it.

-- I'm glad that at least they've found the body. I'm very sorry for the family concerned. It's not at all clear to me whether this was anybody's fault, as it's possible Disney couldn't reasonably foresee an alligator attack in that location; but if there was any fault, it certainly wasn't the parents'.
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  #34  
Old 16 June 2016, 01:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post

-- I'm glad that at least they've found the body. I'm very sorry for the family concerned. It's not at all clear to me whether this was anybody's fault, as it's possible Disney couldn't reasonably foresee an alligator attack in that location; but if there was any fault, it certainly wasn't the parents'.
Which, sadly, will not stop the parent bashing. I just hope these parents aren't going to be subjected to the same level of vitriol endured by the mother in Cincinnati.
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  #35  
Old 16 June 2016, 01:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
In Upstate New York I would take a "no swimming" sign, absent any further indicators, to mean 'we haven't posted a lifeguard and don't want to be sued if you drown yourself'. I have often seen such signs posted by water that's perfectly safe to swim in, let alone wade in. It may well be similar in Nebraska.
I grew up in the area where they are from. When I was still living there over 20yrs ago, No Swimming signs most often indicated that certain bodies of water or shoreline were private property. No lifeguard present signs usually meant "swim at your own risk" or something to that effect.
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  #36  
Old 16 June 2016, 01:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A Turtle Named Mack View Post
Disney was likely to have been feeding them to keep them docile as well, but I do not know.
It is illegal to feed wild alligators in Florida so I doubt Disney was feeding them.

Feeding alligators causes them to lose their natural fear of humans and teaches them to equate humans with food. At least one article I read (referenced in an earlier post) indicated that people may have been feeding the gators. This is a common activity among tourists and locals alike who get a charge out of seeing the reptiles up close.

People ignore alligator warning signs on a regular basis (URL="http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/breaking-news/os-aligator-bite-wekiwa-springs-20150808-story.html"]Woman Loses Arm in Alligator Attack[/URL]) so I am not confident more explicit signs would address the issue. as I said before the warning signs often draw people to the area as folks want to see alligators. I have seen people gathered around such warning signs looking for the gators. Fortunately most times those signs were on fences surrounding a pond (there is one such sign at the pond at the end of my street), but sometimes there is no fence.

The swimming area of a local state park has alligator warning signs. Yes, that is what I meant. The SWIMMING AREA has signs warning of alligators. People still swim (there was a fatal attack many many years ago, but that was a young woman swimming at night).

Alligators are a part of life in Florida. Hotels and attractions in the state need to do a better job of making sure visitors understand the dangers. It is simply impossible to fence off every spot that might harbor a gator (which would be every pond, lake, canal, creek, and ditch in the state).
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  #37  
Old 16 June 2016, 02:23 PM
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I don't know why being from Nebraska or new York would mean that you should consider a No Swimming Sign differently than other people.

I'm from Canada and I know that they have alligators in Florida, that the State government, county government, Disney, etc does not control their whereabouts and as such, unless specifically stated by signage that the water IS safe, not to swim in Florida...

Haven't we all seen pictures of giant alligators ambling around on golf courses to understand this?

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  #38  
Old 16 June 2016, 02:44 PM
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For the record, I was not blaming the parents nor would I. I was stating that I would never personally ignore a no swimming sign, especially if I did not know what it why posted. It was in response other posters who implied that it was perfectly normal to ignore such signs.

My heart goes out to the parents, I can't imagine going through what they are going through right now.
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  #39  
Old 16 June 2016, 02:59 PM
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I am questioning the parents' (and posters' in this thread) decision process where they think that "No swimming" (and in the case of the parents possibly also "Do not enter", and "No guests") means that wading in the water is okay. Specifically, I'm curious as to how and with what extra information they would decide that the hazard(s) that warranted the no swimming rule apply to just swimming and not other activities in the water. (This doesn't include places where "no swimming" signs are sometimes posted to mean, "swimming is probably safe here, but we don't want to be sued if something bad happens" as that is a failure of rules. Kind of how the California cancer warnings seem to have backfired because they are so ubiquitous that people ignore them.)

ETA: I understand that some posters expect there to be list of other items such as "no wading", etc if those activities are also contraindicated. What I don't get is the assumption that the lack of those signs means that those activities are safe when the very similar activity of swimming is banned.

FETA: And sometimes the victims (or the parents of the victim) are to blame. Victim blaming is not always a bad thing.

Last edited by GenYus234; 16 June 2016 at 03:05 PM. Reason: clar
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  #40  
Old 16 June 2016, 03:23 PM
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Alligator

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alarm View Post

Haven't we all seen pictures of giant alligators ambling around on golf courses to understand this?


Many many years ago, a friend (B) told me of a time when he and some friends were playing golf down in Myrtle Beach. B's friend drives his golf ball, it goes wide and lands near an alligator. Friend was heading toward the ball to play it through when he noticed the gator starting to move toward him. Yes, B's friend decided to take the penalty.
As far as fault-finding though, wouldn't that be Disney's? They're the ones that built this lagoon. Now I don't know of any way of keeping gators out of it (build a wall? *snark* fencing around a prescribed area?), but it seems to this non-attorney poster that they are liable. Maybe this is one of those freak things and the end result is only sadness.
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