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After swimming accidents: Stand-up paddlers criticise rules at Rotter See

After swimming accidents : Stand-up paddlers criticise rules at Rotter See

After two fatal swimming accidents in June, the city approved a supervised swimming zone at Rotter See. This was accompanied by stricter enforcement of other rules, which a new interest group criticises.

After long arguments back and forth, it was implemented in early July: At Rotter See in Troisdorf, there has been an area monitored by lifeguards from the German Lifesaving Association (DLRG) for just under six weeks. Almost every summer, there had been a drowning death here; the city's rethinking came after a week in June, when two men drowned there, one of whom had been in the water with an air mattress. At the same time, the city of Troisdorf issued further bans: In response to complaints from residents about trash and noise, an alcohol and glass bottle ban was added - the use of air mattresses and so-called stand-up paddleboards has been banned since the 2001, but was previously tolerated by the city. This has now changed, as a 40-strong interest group criticizes.

"The fact that an alcohol, glass and barbecue ban is a reaction to the nocturnal noise pollution of local residents and the littering of the Seeshore areas is probably understandable for everyone," says Manuela Bruder, who herself lives near the See. She is part of the initiative and says: "That at the same time also the sporting activity on the See is prohibited, we can not understand." The initiative is mainly concerned with the ban on stand-up paddling, which many people have been doing there for many years without any problems. For decades, this has been a lived reality and tolerated practice there - that is now over, they say. "We don't want to give up our hobby because of the misconduct of others," Bruder said. To make that happen, the advocacy group has asked for an appointment with the mayor, but has yet to hear back. "If we don't get anywhere here, we will start a petition."

In reality, however, the bans are not always enforced, as Bruno Schöneberg, head of the DLRG Rhein-Sieg, which coordinates the presence at the See, reports. As before, bathers drink alcohol and have glass bottles with them, he said. "We from the DLRG have no authority to issue directives, so we can only point it out to people, but not enforce anything." For about four weeks, there has also been a chain of buoys in the See to mark the safe swimming area, but some swimmers do not pay attention to it either. According to Bettina Plugge, city spokeswoman in Troisdorf, violations are, however, within manageable limits. "The public works department, which cleans up the area, reports fewer broken pieces and trash," she says in response to a GA inquiry. The public order office, which checks on the See from time to time, also draws a predominantly positive balance and has not yet reported any serious violations.

Rotter See is not yet closed on the part of the city

Bruno Schöneberg says that air mattresses and stand-up paddleboards continue to be used on the few sunny days that have occurred since then. For Manuela Bruder and the interest group, on the other hand, going out on the water despite the ban and risking a fine is not an option. "We have experienced it that the Ordnungsamt has sent us away again with the paddleboards," says Bruder. The water sport is also not dangerous, so far there have been no accidents in the context. Bruno Schöneberg thinks the ban makes sense: "The paddleboards can be dangerous for inexperienced swimmers if you slip off them," he says. However, to his knowledge, there have not yet been any emergencies related to the boards at the See. In general, he is pleased with how the safety measures at Rotter See have been improved, even if acceptance by swimmers is lacking in places. "We've been calling for this for a while, and with the support of Mayor Alexander Biber, it's now happened faster than before," he says. "Most people are also happy that we are on site."

Since then, the lifeguards, who are on site in teams of at least three on weekends, have not had to perform any life-saving missions. "Of course, that's also due to the weather, the area is generally less busy right now," Schöneberg said. In these days, the DLRG team at the See shore, in addition to the container placed there, also uses a viewing platform for better visibility.

The topic of Rotter See has not yet been concluded on the part of the city, as city spokeswoman Bettina Plugge reports. In the main and finance committee there was a request this week to discuss further and newly arisen questions and problems. To this end, the Rotter See working group will meet again shortly, Plugge said. Whether the topic of stand-up paddling is also on the agenda here remained open.

How to contact the group: rotter.see@web.de.

(Original text: Johanna Lübke, Translation: Mareike Graepel)