2002-04-13 / Community

Roll Out The Barrels to Save Lives!

Roll Out The Barrels to Save Lives!

Bernard J. Blum, Wave columnist and president of Friends of Rockaway, Inc., a local environmental group, reports the response to the Army Corps of Engineers application notice for maintenance dredging of the federal channel at East Rockaway Inlet should be conditional on several issues.

Since the inlet stabilization project for shipping and recreational boating involves dredging sand from shoals and the channel and dangerous suctioning currents are created along the beach. Bather safety, not just boat safety needs to be objective! Safety should be provided by a system of ropes and barrels as existed in past years. The drowning of three young ladies this past summer prompts this concern. Large highway size signs should also be installed on the promenade and at the channel shoreline (the beach) to warn of potential drowning.

The placement area for the dredged sand - west of the inlet - is known for 5-6’ scarp (beach cliff the kind the Governor of New Jersey broke a leg falling off of) because of the artificial conditions that do not last more than one or two winters.

Since a terminal groin at Far Rockaway would present a navigational hazard, it should be considered that the boardwalk be moved inland 200 to 400 feet as a concrete promenade to promote a more permanent beach for surfing and swimming.

Bernie Blum reports little response from officialdom to revive the Duke Kahanamoku Way surfing beach entrance (formerly Beach 38th Street), but it’s sure to come with the sale of a stamp to honor the Duke, considered the father of American surfing, and who was in Rockaway in 1912 on one of his tours. As an Olympic swimming champ he won honors and his memory should stimulate lifeguard training of local youth as well as the surfing sport.

The Corps has provided The Parks Department with a beach maintenance manual, and the manual can be updated to include safety, and even cultural remains preservation issues. Ropes, barrels, signs can be cost-shared between Federal, State, and City.

The Public has until April 10th to reply to Corps Public Notice No. East Rockaway Inlet FY02/03. To contact, address: CENA-OP-ST ATTN. W.E. Vanterpool, United States Army Corps of Engineers, New York Division, 26 Federal Plaza, New York, NY 10278.

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