While beaches in Carlsbad and Oceanside are popular throughout the year, these beaches grow particularly crowded during the summer when the risk of a drowning accident increases. According to a recent article in The San Diego Union-Tribune, a drowning death in Carlsbad last summer has left members of the community “looking for ways to improve safety at its three-quarter-mile North Beach before the busy season returns.” Currently, that area of the beach, which is very close to Oceanside, does not have lifeguards on duty. In the event of an emergency, state lifeguards will “respond from the nearby state beach.” However, safety advocates argue that such a response is insufficient.
Developing a Plan to Make Carlsbad Beach Area Safer
The City Council, according to the article, wants its staff to “develop a plan on how to make the beach safer, including the possibility of adding lifeguards there.” According to City Manager Kevin Crawford, City Council staff members will conduct research into different safety options and will seek involvement from Carlsbad residents before providing the City Council with “some options that could be implemented before summer.” As Crawford clarified, “It’s going to be a push . . . a lot of work, but I think we can do it.”
Why is there a clear need for a better safety response? The article points out that, if one looks at the number of lifeguard rescues in Carlsbad compared to those at nearby beaches, the numbers alone suggest a need for state lifeguards to patrol. For instance, over the July 4th weekend in 2016, 197 rescues were made by state lifeguards called in for an emergency around North Beach, while 225 rescues were made at other state park beaches in the Carlsbad area. Shortly after the July 4th weekend, a tourist in Carlsbad drowned at North Beach with his 12-year-old granddaughter.
Although there are signs posted at North Beach that warn visitors about the dangers of going into the ocean for “weak swimmers,” such signs often are not enough to keep tourists out of the water. Given that “there are no safety services on the city beach,” relying upon lifeguards at nearby state parks simply is not sufficient in many cases. Carlsbad city officials have been considering ways of adding lifeguard services to North Beach since 1983, yet the addition of such services has not yet come to fruition. However, as the beach becomes a more popular spot for tourists, the need for safety mechanisms and protocols becomes more pronounced.
Learning More About Unintentional Drowning
How often do unintentional drowning deaths occur, and can they be prevented? According to a fact sheet from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), on average, more than 3,500 unintentional drowning deaths have occurred each year in the country between 2005 and 2014. This figure does not take into account boating accidents, which would significantly increase this number. To put that figure another way, around 10 drowning deaths occur each day on average.
To prevent drowning deaths, the CDC recommends the following:
- Ensure that children take formal swimming lessons, especially if they are between the ages of 1 and 4 years old;
- Learn CPR if you spend time near the water as you could help to save a life;
- Always supervise children when they are in or around the water;
- Require your children to use the buddy system when swimming in a pool or in the ocean, and set an example by doing so yourself;
- Do not drink alcohol when you are in or around the water;
- Obey warnings at your local beach;
- Know the signs of dangerous waves or indications of rip currents (such as discolored, choppy, foamy, or debris-filled water); and
- If you get caught in a rip current, you should swim parallel to the shore.
Many drowning deaths are preventable. If you or someone you love got hurt in a drowning incident, you should speak with a Carlsbad drowning accident lawyer. Contact the Walton Law Firm today for more information.
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(image courtesy of Ian Schneider)