Water safety

Section: 
Letter

The following letter was also sent to Mayor Anne Eadie.

I know you are aware of the most recent drowning death at Station Beach. I have lived in Kincardine for several years, and this death is the third in recent memory. The beach has a sign explaining the dangers of Lake Huron's riptide, but we need more.

My husband spent his childhood in Cornwall, England and lived near the ocean. Whenever the ocean was active and rough, a large red flag with the word "Danger" would come into view. Somebody was appointed to monitor weather and subsequent water conditions and decide if swimmers should vacate the water. The decision would be made based on the danger it presented to swimmers.

We have many visitors swimming at our beaches who don't understand the dangers. The present sign helps, if it is read. A large red flag would be much more obvious. Also, somebody explained to me that Lucas, the boy who drowned, was swimming close to the south pier when he was swept further out into the lake. His friends could not find a life preserver on the pier. They ran to find one about a 1/4 of a mile down the beach to the east. When they returned, Lucas was gone. We all lost him.

I imagine his friends throwing a life preserver and towing him to shore. We need life preservers on both the north and south piers. There would not be a huge cost to incorporate a flag system indicating danger, and have more life preservers installed, especially on the piers. How many lives might we save by these simple measures?

Thank you for your consideration. We have a beautiful beach but we need to protect visitors, as well as locals, from dangerous deadly undertows. Even with a red warning danger flag, we can't prevent people from swimming, but we can do a much better job of warning them about the danger. And we can provide more life preservers at strategic locations so that we can do something when a crisis should occur.

A 16-year-old boy, a father attempting to save his daughter and an exchange student - these are the people we have lost in recent years. One is too many. We can never prevent all mishaps, but we might have prevented one with a better warning system and life savers in place.

None of the measures would be particularly costly and so worth the cost, based on a life saved.

Sincerely,

Catherine Hammill


(Note from the Independent: to those at the scene, friends of Lucas Johnson grabbed a life preserver that stationed at the base of the pier. Life preservers are, in fact, located on both piers and have been for more than a decade.)