Surfers ask for visitor protection

01/10/2013

Fifteen local surfers signed a letter sent to the superintendent of Point Reyes National Seashore asking the National Park Service to act urgently to help prevent deaths caused by rogue waves and high surf at local beaches. Prompted by last week’s death of a Richmond man who chased his dog into the surf at North Beach and was subsequently swept into roiling seas, the letter cited the dangers associated with increasing numbers of visitors to Point Reyes. “In our experience, the danger of the waves and water is not apparent to many, as evidenced by the number of people who walk along the water’s edge with their dog, the parents who let their kids play in the surge, and the occasional swimmers who enter the water unaided by a wetsuit,” it stated. Superintendent Cicely Muldoon accepted the authors’ invitation for a seashore representative to meet with a small group of surfers to “discuss with us how we can work together to take action to prevent another the loss of life at our beaches.” Spokesman John Dell’Osso said he is talking with officials at Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Sonoma state parks to learn what, if any, beach safety measures are working for them. “We think we’re getting a lot of messages out in a lot of different ways, but we can always reach in out in new techniques,” he said. Mr. Dell’Osso pointed to pages of cautionary messages on the seashore’s website, flyers at the visitor center, and signs and exhibit panels at several beaches warning of ocean conditions, and added that any new measures would be confined by finances and would need to be proven effective.