CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Following the tragic drowning of Andru Bass, concerns have been raised about promoting more beach safety.
Concerns were raised because of the lack of beach markers, possibly making it hard for rescue and recovery operations. Corpus Christi Fire Chief Robert Rocha said a plan is in place to provide this critical information.
"It’s done through an incident command structure, working not only with our fire department partners in the area, but with law enforcement in the Corpus Christi Police Department," he said. "We have an excellent relationship with them in establishing a coordination."
Walking a beach like Whitecap you’ll notice inconsistent distances between markers. Rocha said first responders can use different points of reference when on the beach.
"Beaches (are) a unique circumstance," said Rocha. "And I believe that with the loss of life that occurs we have to take a look and see what we can do better."
And that’s what Corpus Christi assistant city manager Neiman Young said is happening. City officials are aware of the marker issue, but rectifying it requires multiple agencies to address it. So the focus for immediate safety support is getting more personnel on the beaches.
"We are looking at having a more robust campaign to market the national flag system the city utilizes," said Young. "To forewarn people about the conditions of the waters, before they enter the beaches. We really feel that maybe some of the flag poles and flag system have become like white noise, especially to those who have grown up in the community."
Young said beach ambassadors have been a positive step in educating visitors.
"Staff does a really good job doing a lot of water incident prevention," he said. "Educating visitors to the beach who aren't familiar with beach safety, educating them. If we didn't have that staff presence in place out there every day on our beaches, we may have more incidents that who know could have been prevented."
Young said more lifeguards will be on the Gulf of Mexico beaches and bay beaches this Memorial Day Weekend. Those lifeguards will be wearing shirts that promote the national flag system.
Lifeguards are always needed, Young said. If you're interested in becoming one you can find information on the city website.