With this week's summer-like weather, thoughts in Mattapoisett have already started to drift to lazy, hot, humid days spent at Town Beach. While the beach is a perennial draw from year-round residents and summer visitors alike, it is unlikely that one familiar attraction will be put to use again this year.

The raft that has floated out in the water for decades has some obstacles to overcome before town officials will send it back out to the water.

The raft has been sidelined after receiving some storm-related damage a couple of years ago. In that time, the question of the town's liability insurance with respect to the popular float has come up again.

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"I'd like to see it back out there more than anybody else," Mattapoisett Selectman Jordan Collyer said. "It's been out there my entire life, but I have to put the town's financial interests first, so I've asked the town administrator to look again at the insurance company's recommendation.  Would the town be covered under general liability if there was an accident with the raft?"

Collyer says that the town was told in the past, "We don't want to cover your float, and if someone gets hurt, it's on you.  Their recommendation was to take it out, so then when it fell apart, we decided not to put it back in the water."

Another issue is that the raft is located in shallow water, spots as shallow as 4 feet deep. There is real concern that anyone using the raft might dive into a shallow spot and be permanently injured or killed.

"You could move the raft to a deeper area, but then it would become way too far away from the shore," Collyer said. "Regardless, I can't put the town in jeopardy if someone gets hurt and we're on the hook for a lawsuit that wouldn't be covered."

Collyer stressed again how much he misses seeing kids enjoy the raft, a childhood memory of his own.

"I would love more than anything else to have it out there, but we need to make sure we cross our T's and dot our I's as much as possible."

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