Who is next?


I attended a Kincardine council meeting this evening (Sept. 2) understanding that our beach’s riptide issue would be on the agenda. The uncle of Lucas, our most recent drowning victim, spoke as well as the brother of a previous victim, the father who drowned in our riptide attempting to save his daughter. They were articulate, logical, focused and spoke with great passion. Their loss is heartbreaking.

The sizable public audience in attendance drew applause with each presentation. I met the wife of the man who drowned and the daughter that he saved. They want action. They want changes now because what we presently have to warn people about the riptide is not working.

It was an emotional meeting. The presenters did extensive research regarding our dangerous beach with the conclusion that all drownings occurred in the vicinity of the riptide at Station Beach close to the south pier. Considering we have had four drownings in seven years, based on statistics, we may very likely have five more over the next 10 years.

Suggestions were made by councilors: brochures, pamphlets, a month-long focus on the dangers of the riptide to educate local people so that it will hopefully trickle to others who visit the beach. Another councilor suggested swimming lessons and information about saving oneself in the event of riptide involvement. The final decision was to implement a $2,500 safety inspection with accompanying recommendations.

Brochures and pamphlets and information sessions held in Kincardine over a period of time in the summer are not going to help out-of-town people who visit the next month. Swimming lessons for our local young people and education about riptides are not going to help tourists who visit and have no idea about the danger. And while the safety inspection is arranged with the recommendations forthcoming, our north and south pier remain bare of life preservers. The riptide may happen again without warning flags about its potential to kill. We wait. We wonder who will be next.

How difficult would it be, as we wait for the safety inspection, to put up a red flag and life preservers where they are so badly needed? The real cost to this would be miniscule, the action completely logical. The summer is not over. The water is warm in September, the days sun-filled and long. Visitors keep coming.

I walked down the south pier today. The life preserver at the base of the pier remains hidden among tall grasses and trees as it has the entire summer. I see town workers emptying garbage pails and trimming plants in the town gardens. Why has no one been directed to trim the vegetation around the life preserver at the base of the south pier so that it becomes obvious from the pier? Tomorrow, I’ll bring a saw and garden shears and see if I can at least make it visible from the length of the pier. Anyone swimming near the north pier will be out of luck completely as there is no life preserver to be found anywhere.

Each day we wait, wondering who will be next.


Catherine Hammill