■ STAFF REPORT
Another recent close call at the south end has left us to reiterate what many already know this Spring Break: Please don’t swim at the south end.
Since 2001 we have had numerous water-rescue calls and 18 drownings in our area. Just within the last two weeks, the Boca Grande Fire Department responded to a possible drowning at the Port Boca Grande Lighthouse Beach involving four people – two very young children and two women in their 30s. Everything thankfully turned out well on that call, but that’s not always the way it ends up.
The currents in the water south of 1st Street get stronger and stronger as you head south. We have had frequent rip current warnings in the last few weeks, and that makes the water even more dangerous. Changing weather patterns can create a dangerous swimming situation where there wasn’t one the day before.
At the very south end, very swift-moving currents develop in the Pass as the tides go in and out, and even the strongest swimmer can be swept up and carried out in the Gulf in just a couple of minutes.
Just two years ago a young man drowned and was never located while swimming at Range Light Beach. He managed to save his family members, who had been playing on a sandbar just offshore before he went under, but the rising tides were so swift that they didn’t notice they were in trouble until it was too late.
Please use diligence and common sense while swimming at our beaches. And if there’s a sign that says “No Swimming,” don’t swim there.