Thursday, March 12, 2009

Beachgoers' safety

The Half Moon Bay Review carried a good timely commentary by Clay Lambert yesterday. It started by reporting a pair of recent tragedies:
Sometimes the mysteries associated with tragedy at sea are as deep as the ocean itself.

Two people – one a young man reportedly from the South Bay, the other a local teenager – lost their lives in the waters off our coast within 24 hours last week. The first tragedy occurred at Poplar Beach on Sunday. Beachgoers spotted a body floating offshore. Authorities found kite surfing gear nearby and theorized it belonged to the lifeless young man they pulled from the water. Then, on Monday morning, rescue crews from several local, state and federal agencies combed the area after a friend reported a 17-year-old boy had been swept to sea. Later Monday, officials called off that search without ever finding the boy.
Then the main thrust:
Today, the circumstances of each terrible event are as murky as the ocean bottom. We may never know why two apparently healthy young people fell victim to the Pacific. But we can all resolve to take precautions so that it doesn’t happen to us.Even when seemingly serene, the ocean can be a mighty and living thing. Be aware of your surroundings and know that you don’t have to be in the water to fall victim to it.

Rogue waves – swells much larger than the regular sets coming ashore – can crash on shore at any time. They are powerful enough to drag you into the water. Stay off jetties or other rock formations that could quickly leave you stranded.

Be mindful of the weather whenever you are around the ocean. Don’t swim alone. Know what to do if you are caught in a rip current (don’t fight it – swim parallel to shore until you can make your way back).

This week’s tragedies should serve as timely reminders. As the days grow longer and the weather improves, acknowledging the power of the ocean is a matter of life and death.
There is nothing much more that I can add, except may be an "Amen!"

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