2002-05-25 / Front Page

Warning Signs For Rockaway Beaches

Warning Signs For Rockaway Beaches

In the wake of the tragic drowning of three young girls last summer, the Parks Department has begun placing new warning signs at a number of Rockaway locations.

The old signs simply said, "Danger. Do Not Swim When There is No Lifeguard On Duty."

The new signs say, "Danger â013 Ocean Beaches are affected by strong currents and sudden drop offs that have contributed to drownings. Do not enter the water unless there is a lifeguard on duty."

The three girls, Rahela Begum, 18 and her cousins Jubeda and Shahzeda Ahmed, 16 and 12, were pulled into the East Rockaway Inlet and drowned when they went into the water at Beach 7 Street when there was no lifeguard on duty early last summer.

"If there are no lifeguards, do not go into the water," says Liam Cavanaugh, Parks Department deputy commissioner for operations. "It is as simple as that."

Many of the signs posted along Rockaway beaches will be in multiple languages. More than 150 signs in Spanish have already been placed, some of them in the area of the drowning. According to the Parks Department, a Russian version is in the works, particularly for the beaches in Far Rockaway, where many Russian immigrants live.

Over the past decade, Rockaway beaches have claimed 14 lives.

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