Woman’s Drowning Death Prompts Launch Of Riptide Awareness Program – CBS New York
Suffolk County police say the body of Barbara Langbecker was discovered Sunday in the water near Seaview Marina. Authorities believe the 67-year-old Upper East Side resident drowned while swimming in rough waters from weekend storms — specifically rip currents.
“We’re here today to launch a program kind of just giving everyone an awareness of the riptides and currents,” Hempstead Town Councilmember Anthony D’Esposito said.
D’Esposito gave CBS2’s Tara Jakeway a preview of the Riptide Awareness Program launching Friday at Hempstead Town beaches, a response to the tragic drowning.
“This is just an opportunity to remind those, not only the residents, we have nearly 800,000 residents here in the town of Hempstead that use our beaches, but there’s a lot of visitors, too,” he said.
Their safety program slogan is “Beware the grip of the rip.”
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, rip currents can happen at any beach with breaking waves. They are still studying the exact wind and weather conditions to predict a riptide, but they’ve identified some warning signs.
Rip current indicators include:
- High surf conditions
- An area of churning, choppy water
- An area of noticeably different water color
- A line of foam or seaweed moving steadily out to sea
- A break in the incoming wave pattern
The U.S. Lifesaving Association says if you are caught in a rip current, you should not fight it. Instead, you should swim parallel to shore and swim back to land at an angle.
They caution to never swim at a beach without lifeguards.
In the 80 years of operation of the Hempstead Town beaches, officials say there has not been one single fatality in the water while lifeguards were on duty.