FHMNA Continuing Efforts to Improve Beach Experience (posted 7/16/17)

The following letter from the FHMNA Board was published in the Falmouth Enterprise on July 7, 2017, page 5.  The editorial referenced by that letter can be found at https://www.capenews.net/falmouth/opinion/safety-is-top-priority-for-lifeguards—editorial/article_44627774-9e9b-5020-9aeb-c3e5116915e3.html

Everyone Entitled To Pleasant Beaches

The title of last week’s editorial “Safety Is Top Priority For Lifeguards” was neither news nor clarification.  We all agree that preventing drowning during our 8-week beach season is the most important part of the Beach Department’s mission.

The Falmouth Beach Department’s mission statement can be found online. It reads in part “…assuring that a trip to Falmouth’s beaches is a pleasant, enjoyable and safe experience….”

More than water safety alone is required for a pleasant, safe and enjoyable experience.  The beach department actively ignores several other critical duties, including: maintaining a clean beach, preventing smoking, preventing consumption of alcohol and preventing beachgoers from being struck by projectiles.  Prior beach departments used to do all this.  The current beach leadership chooses to remain uninvolved.

As pointed out in last week’s editorial, lifeguards should not enforce these rules.  We take no issue with what is and what isn’t in the lifeguards’ job description.  We continue to take issue with the beach department’s ongoing neglect of its own stated mission.

To promote a pleasant, safe and enjoyable beach experience, the Falmouth Heights-Maravista Neighborhood Association has, for years, requested that a “beach monitor” position be added.  An ambassador of Falmouth.  A mature individual with a “Beach Monitor” t-shirt and friendly “Beach Monitor” ball cap.  Someone who walks the beach, netting the odd piece of trash, engaging with beachgoers, and if necessary, blowing the occasional whistle at the participants of activities more suitable for a playground or backyard.

FHMNA has repeatedly asked for a one-year beach monitor trial, and we have offered to pay the salary of this individual.  Nationwide, hundreds of other beach departments have beach patrols and/or beach monitors, specifically purposed with ensuring comfort and safety of all beachgoers.  Those in charge of our beaches have consistently refused.

The current policy of omission causes beachgoers to dodge footballs, watch out for Frisbees, breathe tobacco smoke and be displaced by the intoxicated.

This is an ongoing disservice to the thousands of beachgoing Falmouth residents and guests deserving of a pleasant, enjoyable and safe experience.

Howard B. Grosser, President, FHMNA


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