Safety alert: Drownings in Puerto Rico spike as ocean currents get stronger

Safety alert: Drownings in Puerto Rico spike as ocean currents get stronger

The National Weather Service San Juan (NWS San Juan) publish information on maritime conditions daily on its social media pages. In the picture there's a warning on the March 13 conditions. (Capture via NWS San Juan).

By Mivette Vega

March 14, 2024

Condado beach is where the most tourist deaths have occurred, despite numerous signs warning that the area is “extremely dangerous.”

So far this week alone, three people have drowned on beaches in different areas of Puerto Rico, due to strong waves and high rip current risks.

Last Sunday, a 22-year-old tourist from Illinois was swept away by the sea behind Ventana del Mar in Codado. A Puerto Rican soldier jumped in to save him, despite pleas from his young children not to do so. Both he and the tourist drowned.

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On Wednesday another tourist from Minnesota died for the same reason, after getting into La Pared beach in Luquillo.

These drownings continue to occur despite warnings issued by the Bureau of Emergency Management (NMEAD by its Spanish initials), signs on the beaches, and notices in the hotels.

Condado beach is where the most tourist deaths have occurred, despite numerous signs warning that the area is “extremely dangerous.”

As a result of the deaths, in 2022 the Tourism Company established a lifeguard corps at Condado. Only those areas and beaches that are within national parks have surveillance.

The program seems to be working: Records show no one has died during the lifeguards’ shifts.

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If you visit Puerto Rico soon, make sure to check the National Weather Service San Juan (NWS San Juan) social media pages, where they publish information on maritime conditions daily.

NMEAD Commissioner Nino Correa recommends that people visit beaches that are suitable for bathers, known as balnearios, but he said visitors should still need to look for official information on the maritime conditions.

Author

  • Mivette Vega

    Mivette Vega is a seasoned journalist and multimedia reporter whose stories center the Latino community. She is passionate about justice, equality, environmental matters, and animals. She is a Salvadorrican—Salvadorian that grew up in Puerto Rico—that has lived in San Juan, Venice, Italy, and Miami.

CATEGORIES: LOCAL NEWS
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