2002-08-17 / Editorial/Opinion

Beach Signs Are No Deterrent

Last week, The Wave wrote about a woman who nearly drowned after making the decision to go swimming without lifeguards being present. While the details of her rescue are somewhat sketchy, the woman was very lucky to have survived the treacherous tides. A few days later, a man was pulled from the waters by a rescue team, just off Beach 147 Street, after being swept away by strong currents. The man was also lucky to have survived the ordeal. Harold Edwards Dickerson was not as fortunate. Dickerson was the 69-year old St. Albans man who drowned while rescuing his son-in-law from an undertow near the Rockaway Inlet on Beach 17 Street. He was the third person in a week to end up struggling for survival. As in the case involving the woman described, no lifeguards were present when the unidentified man and Dickerson fell victim to the powerful currents. Clearly, the signs that are posted along the beach, including the Beach 17 Street area, are not helping to prevent swimming mishaps or death. It doesn’t matter how many languages are printed on the signs, or how large or small the print is, people are always going to take their chances and brave the dangerous waters. Unfortunately, even after the death of four people in the last year and a half, others will still go into the water long after the lifeguards are off duty. We can no longer rely on signs alone, and we must consider new safety options before Rockaway becomes known exclusively as "Death Beach."


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