Safety at The Ohio River Sternwheel Festival

Safety for everyone involved is a top priority at The Ohio River Sternwheel Festival this weekend.

"We have a safety meeting that we hold every year a week prior to the festival, with local law enforcement, the DNR folks that are going to be out on the water, we had that meeting yesterday. We just discussed some of the things we plan to do this year and some of the operational type things that will be going on," said Sternwheel President Jon Coppernoll.

Coppernoll says in light of recent national events they are being more vigilant.

"We have always tried to be vigilant, with the safety and security because our main goal is to provide a safe, wholesome, family type atmosphere at the festival, but we did discuss some things and I think in light of these recent things that have happened nationally we probably have to try and be a little more vigilant if we can," said Coppernoll.

Marietta Police Captain Jeff Waite says they will have plenty of extra officers out on the road and down at the festival. He says make sure parents keep their children in sight at all times.

"People just need to be, to keep their kids close by them. Watch for any suspicious behavior out of anybody. If you see anything that doesn't look right, please get a hold of one of the officers that are down there or pick up the phone and call us so we can check on it," said Captain Waite.

The big event on Saturday is the fireworks and Williamstown Fire Captain Paul Jordan says, although everyone is excited they need to remember, safety first.

"People start gathering around 8, 9 o'clock on the river bank. We try and set a perimeter up so they can stand back and out of the way, and we have to move some people sometimes, sometimes they don't understand, but we have had some shrapnel from the fire works come down and we want to make sure they stay back and have a good night," said Captain Jordan.

Captain Jordan says the Williamstown rescue boats and Marietta fire boat will be out on the water.

"The river being owned by West Virginia make it kinda a fun jurisdiction thing, but Marietta was lucky enough to obtain a new fire boat, and we have our rescue boats, so we work as a joint operation. The two fire departments work closely together to make sure the river stays safe and we can handle the fireworks and keep everybody that way," said Captain Jordan.

Captain Waite says the Marietta police boat will also be out on the river during the festival.


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