Recent drownings in San Mateo County prompt new safety campaign
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Recent drownings in San Mateo County prompt new safety campaign

Recent drownings in San Mateo County prompt new safety campaign
Drownings in San Mateo County worry officials, launch public safety campaign to remind visitors to ‘be smart, play safe and stay vigilant.’

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Shocked by recent drownings of children and their families along the San Mateo County coast, officials are launching a public safety campaign to remind visitors to “be smart, play safe and stay vigilant.”

The launch, announced at Surfer’s Beach in Half Moon Bay, was timed to coincide with the busy Fourth of July holiday that typically draws thousands of visitors to the county’s 54-mile coastline, but the event will run throughout the summer.

“It’s up to us to share with you the fact that while the ocean can be beautiful and great for cooling off, there are small waves that can pull a person into the water very quickly and without warning,” said Supervisor Ray Mueller, whose District 3 includes the coast.

“Unfortunately, we have lost lives in these waters, so if you swim to shore, keep your children a short distance away from you, remember that the water is very cold and without a wetsuit you will quickly run out of energy, don’t worry. “Turn your back to the ocean and if you get caught in a small wave, swim parallel to the shore,” he added.

Visitors will see sporadic road signs along the main coastal arteries of Highway 1, which runs from Pacifica through Pescadero, and Highway 92, the main coastal access road for visitors to the Central Peninsula, East Bay, South Bay and beyond.

There are signs with messages like “Be smart. Play safe. Stay alert” and “Don’t go back into the ocean.”

“By prioritizing public safety through awareness and education, we can work together to prevent these tragedies. “We are taking a stand with Supervisor Mueller, the City of Half Moon Bay, CAL FIRE and other partners to proactively inform visitors and residents to be cautious,” said Sheriff Christina Corpus.

“This important safety message, ‘Be smart. Play safe. Stay alert’ and ‘Don’t turn your back on the ocean’ is simple and clear. Our commitment is united. Be safe and careful when visiting the coast,” he stressed.

Half Moon Bay Mayor Joaquín Jiménez urged everyone to experience the beauty the coast has to offer, but emphasized that “the safety of our community members and visitors is our top priority. We want everyone to enjoy their time while staying safe.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drowning deaths are rising in the United States after decades of decline.

More than 4,500 people died from drowning each year between 2020 and 2022, which is 500 more than in 2019.

Drowning is the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 4 in the United States, and San Mateo County is not immune to this problem.

“We have a lot of threats throughout the Bay Area, especially here in San Mateo County. That means not only are we pleading with people to stay safe from community fires this week, but we’re also asking anyone seeking help in the ocean to think about beach safety and be aware of all the dangers associated with the beach, including rip currents, waves and cliffs,” said CALFIRE Deputy Director Jonathan Cox.

The public safety campaign involves the Sheriff’s Office, as well as the San Mateo Port Authority District, the City of Half Moon Bay, the City of Pacifica, CALFIRE, the Coastside Fire Protection District and other agencies.

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