Started using one a few years ago. Got caught on the wrong side of the stream up there when a big storm hit upstream. Could not find a place to cross so I ended up swimming my way over. Used sticks from time to time that I would pick up, worked ok. Bought a collapsable and use it every time I go, streams or tailwaters. Say what you want, have not fallen since I bought it. BTW I'm not even 40 yet so they are not just for "experienced" fishermen(& women).
May you fish more than you wish for.