The rocky shore between the Ocean Beach Pier and Santa Cruz Cove is an area that has claimed several lives.
On January 21, two woman were swept into the water at Santa Cruz Cove. Lifeguards responded and learned a citizen had rescued one women but the other was still in the water. The surf at this point was 15 feet, making the rescue attempt difficult and dangerous. Lifeguards entered the water unable to see her as they battled strong surge and tried to breath in the thick ocean foam. After 40 minutes, the woman was recovered and transported to the hospital, but unfortunately did not survive. Several lifeguards sustained minor injuries, and two were taken to the hospital for observation.
This scenario has happened there before. I recall a stormy night in the early nineties when we lost another young woman in the same spot. This area has claimed several lives in my career and even before I started. It’s time to try and prevent this from happening again.
In my travels to other countries, I have seen signs that warn people about similar dangers. The signs are not just simple warning signs – often times, they are memorial warnings placed in areas where waves have washed away families. On a recent trip to Iceland, I read about those killed after venturing onto the glacier. The Kern River has a running number of people who perish annually.
I encourage Ocean Beach to work with the City of San Diego to honor those who have perished and protect those who visit by placing signs that describe the danger and the names of those lost. Signage should be posted at each of the entry points. Some entry points should be closed during heavy weather, as we do for the pier and the jetties. We are behind on this, we should make it happen quickly before another life is lost.
Ed Harris is a former City Council member who represented Ocean Beach and Point Loma and lifeguard Sergeant