Recently, three people along Southeast Florida beaches died when likely caught in strong rip currents. These deaths occurred despite the excellent forecast by the National Weather Service and extensive publicity in the media on the high risk of dangerous rip currents. What more can be done to reduce this tragic and needless loss of life?
Lifeguards are the first line of defense against ocean drowning. They do a remarkable job in alerting people before they get into dangerous situations and, if necessary, rescuing them.
Signs have been posted at most unguarded beaches explaining the danger of rip currents. But how many people read or heed the advice? Since the best objective is to get people to swim at guarded beaches, why not encourage this by posting signs at unguarded beaches giving the name and distance to the nearest guarded beach. The locations of guarded beaches should be displayed on the county’s website as well. And, a more controversial measure would be to do what is often done for highway deaths — a sign at the beach where a person has drowned as a sobering reminder to swim at a guarded beach.
James Lushine, Pembroke Pines
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