2015-09-11 / Community News

Rip tide warning signs up

By Michael Kelley Staff Writer


The town has placed caution signs on Ferry Beach, and across the river near the Pine Point jetty, that cautions swimmers and boaters about strong currents and tides. The signs, paid for with money from the Department of Public Works sign account, will be up year-round. (Courtesy photo) The town has placed caution signs on Ferry Beach, and across the river near the Pine Point jetty, that cautions swimmers and boaters about strong currents and tides. The signs, paid for with money from the Department of Public Works sign account, will be up year-round. (Courtesy photo) After several close calls with increased currents near the jetty at Pine Point, the town last week installed signs to warn swimmers and water enthusiasts about the danger of such currents.

The problem was brought to the town’s attention via email Aug. 15 by an Old Orchard Beach resident who had recently been swimming in that area with her family.

“It was quite a harrowing experience,” Town Manager Tom Hall said. “Everything turned out fine, but she was nerved enough to reach out to us.”

The signs, which say “Danger. Fast Tides. Strong Currents” are double facing so they can be seen from the water by the jetty as well as Pine Point Beach. A sign was also placed along Ferry Beach. Hall said the signs were paid for the Public Works sign account.

Hall said the area is a popular place to walk because an individual can almost walk from Pine Point Beach to the Prouts Neck Yacht Club across the river due to a low-tide sand bar. If not careful, individuals can get stuck there if they don’t return by the time the tide comes back in.

This incident, Hall said, did not happen at low tide.

The surge of the currents and tides in that area have been stronger this summer than in years past, something that has caught several swimmers and water enthusiasts by surprise. Most of the time it didn’t turn tragic, but on the afternoon of Saturday, Aug. 8 it did when 56-yearold Scott Ducott died while swimming by the jetty despite aid and CPR from onlookers and medical professionals.

“These currents coming off the jetty have been very, very strong for some reason,” said Town Councilor Peter Hayes, a friend of Ducott’s. “There have been some kayakers and strong swimmers getting caught up in them.

Hall said he thinks the surge in currents and tides has to do with the changing conditions by the jetty.

“I suspect it has to do with the changing environment,” Hall said. “The dredge project might have something to do with directing the currents.”

Although the summer beach season has come and gone, Hall said the signs will remain.

“We have no intention of taking them down. Conditions may change based on the environment, but there is no harm making sure people are extra vigilant,” he said.

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