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'Please be safe': Macon-Bibb commission set to consider new safety rules at Amerson River Park

Commissioner Al Tillman is sponsoring the rule changes. He says it may seem like an inconvenient ask, but it can save lives.

MACON, Ga. — If you're looking forward to swimming this summer at Amerson River Park, you may have some new safety rules to follow.

That's if Macon-Bibb commissioners approve an ordinance this month that would change some of the park's safety guidelines. They're set to consider it Tuesday morning.

Commissioner Al Tillman is sponsoring the changes. He says he wants to make sure all of Macon-Bibb County's water safety rules are up-to-date.

"We went fishing. We really didn't catch anything," said Jermada Robinson, 17, spending time with her friends at Amerson on Monday.

There were no fish to speak of on that day five years ago, but Robinson caught something else: memories.

"Just us coming together as a family," she said. "Cause we were with my aunt, my mom. A couple of my cousins."

Most 12-year-olds might have been afraid of wading into the water to toss a line in, but having her mom and aunt around kept her calm.

"Being able to get in, and not being really scared," she said.

They kept her safe too. 

Tillman says he wants all parents to keep an eye on their children under 16 in the water. He's sponsoring the rule changes to help keep folks safe.

"That's something similar I think we're trying to do with all our parks. Even at Lake Tobesofkee," he said.

That rule change came last summer and requires parents to watch their children under 14. The changes at Amerson would also require everyone swimming to wear a life jacket, no matter how old they are. 

Tillman says adults often don't realize they could be in danger too.

"These are not little bitty children that are drowning. These are young adults and grown people," Tillman said.

He and Robinson say it's a request that may seem inconvenient, but can save lives.

"Just when you all come out here, please be safe. Anything can happen," Robinson said.

This ordinance is specifically for people swimming in the river. There are already laws in place for people boating or tubing. 

According to state law, children under 13 must have a life jacket on while boating. If you're tubing or water skiing, you must wear a life vest no matter how old you are.

After commissioners vote Tuesday, they'll vote a second time next week.

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