Senseless Tragedy

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

I must take some exception to the last letter to the editor about the tragedy on our beach. A few years ago, there was another tragedy and I, too, became upset that something like that was allowed to happen. It seemed senseless. A friend of mine took another attitude-- "this is Mexico, and you look after yourself." I completely disagreed with him. When hundreds of thousands of people use the beach each year, services must be provided-- including bathrooms, medical response and lifeguards.

And we, Grupo Pro Sayulita as well as other volunteers, did not just stand around doing nothing. During my three years as president of GPS, we did a lot of work to improve conditions. Beach safety was at the top of our list. The slowness of progress is very frustrating for sure.

There are a hundred (or more) businesses that line the beach-- rental units and restaurants-- all whom have an economic interest in keeping a safe beach (in addition to the fact that almost all of them care about saving lives). But organizing and collecting fees is a difficult task, especially for volunteers, although efforts were made in that direction.

We also worked closely with volunteers and surfers who daily pull out swimmers in trouble, and who put up red flags when conditions were especially rough. We also made warning signs (and I understand new signs are being made). However, not all will obey signs; the real answer is to implement lifeguards.

We were overjoyed to finally help pay for a package deal with the government, stimulated with a foundation that was set up after a tragic drowning a few years ago, and organized by Firefighers Crossing Boarders. This deal is provding 24/7 ambulance and rescue/fire truck with a station in Sayulita, we well as 26 trained lifeguards.

This was a huge step forward, but why they built the lifeguard tower near the river, instead of one on the south end (where the majority of swimmers go) and one on the north end (which has the treacherous rip tide) is a mystery.

We must continue our efforts. The writer is correct that until there are permanent lifeguards in both locations, another senseless death will occur. We should be able to prevent this! I am only stating that a lot of work has gone into this effort. I suggest that he, and others, join a "beach safety" committee at Grupo Pro Sayulita, and work with our delegado for a better beach system. We must provide a safe beach experience for our families, friends and visitors.