‘Danger! Strong Currents’ signs posted at Rawacou Beach
April 9, 2010
‘Danger! Strong Currents’ signs posted at Rawacou Beach

The presence of lifeguards at beaches, especially during holidays when these spots are crowded, may soon become the norm.{{more}}

In the meantime, users of the beaches and other recreational facilities have been asked to take their personal safety seriously and adhere to the rules associated with those areas.

Following these rules and regulations could mean the difference between life and death.

This view is shared by officials of this country’s Coast Guard as well as those of the National Parks, Rivers and Beaches Authority (NPRBA).

Speaking in the wake of the tragic drowning at Rawacou on Monday of LIME employee Daphne Deane-deShong, head of the NPRBA Andrew Wilson said it is the intention of the Authority to have lifeguards present at the beach.

Wilson indicated that the newly refurbished facilities are still not fully functional and amenities such as lifeguards are still being worked out.

“First, we have to be able to identify persons, train them and assign them to the locations.”

“In the interim we are trying to make arrangements with the Coast Guard to have them present especially during the holiday seasons.”

In relation to the Rawacou site, Wilson indicated that a number of safety measures were put in place given the popularity and the tragic history of that beach, where about seven people have lost their lives since 2002.

He highlighted the number of signs and warnings posted at the beach (see photo above), and the infrastructure put in place to make the area safer and more secure.

“There is a safer option in terms of bathing. We invested a lot of money to construct a pool so that individuals would not go into the sea.”

“There are signs posted there that explicitly say no diving or swimming because of the strong currents. As you enter the site there are notices with regulations that promote safety and proper use for optimum enjoyment.”

But people are not obeying these warnings.

Chief Petty Officer of the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Coast Guard Vinton John indicated that on occasions, his officers have had to ask bathers to desist from swimming in the sea on a number of occasions.

“They are not paying attention to the signs. Sometimes they are intoxicated, and usually when persons are under the influence, they do irrational things.”

He warned that weak swimmers should not venture out to sea, because when they get tired they may find themselves in trouble.

“If you are going to swim out, do so with someone who can swim as well; this is called the buddy system.”

The seasoned coast Guard Officer advocated that more persons also learn to swim, calling it not only a good form of exercise but also a useful personal skill.

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and First Aid are also valuable safety skills to acquire, John added.

John noted that the original ‘no swimming’ signs that were posted at the beach were put there by the Coast Guard and that there are plans to post more in collaboration with the Authority.

Another safety feature that both men believe should be vital for group outings is having a member of the group who can exercise a level of judgment and leadership over the group.

“Individuals need to take personal responsibility and avoid taking ill- advised risks,” Wilson added.

Persons having functions on beaches are advised to contact the Coast Guard for advice on safety measures that should be observed and also so that the Coast Guard can assign a member of staff to the site to keep an eye on things.