Leaders take steps to prevent tragedies at Milford beach - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Leaders take steps to prevent tragedies at Milford beach

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No hiking on the sandbar from Silver Sands to Charles Island. (WFSB file photo) No hiking on the sandbar from Silver Sands to Charles Island. (WFSB file photo)
MILFORD, CT (WFSB) -

Concerns are mounting over the safety at Silver Sands State Park in Milford and local leaders are looking to do something about the issue.

A 28-year-old man drowned last month while crossing the sand bar that connects the popular beach to nearby Charles Island.

Bridgeport resident, 28-year-old George Swaby was walking on the sandbar when police said a current swept them into the water.

State Rep. Kim Rose is calling for more to be done. Rose said since mid-June, Milford has had seven 911 calls for open water rescues.

She called for Tuesday's meeting with the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Milford Mayor Ben Blake as well as police and fire chiefs, in the hopes more can be done to prevent another tragedy.

Currently, DEEP said, “only strong swimmers or visitors with PFDs should consider being on the sandbar during tidal changes.”

There is no crossing to Charles Island, which is managed as a Natural Area Preserve for nesting birds, from May 1 through Aug. 31.

There are signs near Charles Island warning people of the dangers of crossing over. DEEP officials said they believe the signs are the most practical approach for alerting visitors, but they added they are open to suggestions.

In that meeting, officials emerged with several solutions, like increased signage and possible lifeguards.

While there are already signs posted warning of dangers, Rose says she wants stronger language on them and visuals depictions of what dangers could lie ahead

“Perhaps a kiosk with an aerial view of the area, showing the area at a low tide and more of a graphic, something people could stop and look at, and spend time to understand that it's not a sandbar, it's a tombolo, and there's all sorts of different issues like the undertows and the currents,” Rose said.

Nothing that was discussed Tuesday has been implemented.

The state is going back to discuss amongst themselves, they'll reconvene with local officials and changes could be coming in a matter of weeks. 

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