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As thousands are expected to flock to the beach this Easter weekend, Coast Guard public relations officer Lieutenant Commander Kirk Jean-Baptiste is warning seabathers that the beaches are especially dangerous this time of year. His comments comes in light of the drowning of Shenelle Bacchus, 22, of Diego Martin, and Alex Denesh Sookhoo, 29, in two separate incidents last weekend.
Bacchus, an employee of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and a mother of one, drowned at Tyrico Beach, off the northeast coast, while bathing with friends and relatives around 4 pm on Sunday. Her body resurfaced a short time later. Sookhoo, a bus driver and father of two, drowned while bathing with friends at Cedros on Sunday. His body is yet to be found. His father, Namdeo Sookhoo, has been keeping vigil at the beach waiting for his son’s body to wash ashore.
Jean-Baptiste deployed more divers yesterday to search for Sookhoo’s body. To beach-lovers, he advised: “Enjoy the sea but respect the sea.” Explaining that at Easter times there are strong winds and sea currents which create bigger wave actions, he said although the Coast Guard would be on patrol at the beaches this weekend, seabathers needed to take personal responsibility for themselves and their children.
He added: “There are a lot of incidents around this time because at this time of the year, the sea is a little different. The winds are stronger. The currents are strong and if the winds are stronger, the wave actions will be bigger. So around Easter time, people have to be very careful in the water, especially when moving with children.
“Normally lifeguards work until late in the afternoon and you should check which beaches have lifeguards . The last thing I have to say is listen to the lifeguards on duty. We make patrols but we are not an omnipresent organisation. We can't be everywhere at the same time, neither can the lifeguards.
“The Coast Guard will be making its patrol, the police will be makings patrols on lands and the lifeguards on the beaches will be making patrols but we need people to be safe on the beaches. The sea is no place to show off to your friends and your girlfriends as to how brave you are,” Jean-Baptiste said.