3 near-drownings, rip current warnings prompt water safety reminders

WARWICK, R.I. (WLNE) — Drowning is one of the leading causes of unintentional injury-related death for children up to the age of 19. And while Tuesday’s three near-drownings across the area — only involved one person in that age range — it’s a potential threat to anyone who steps foot in our waters.

“Not only do we have beaches but we always have pools, we have ponds, rivers, lakes that kids and families swim in all throughout the summer. So for us, it’s extremely important for kids to be knowledgeable and families to be knowledgeable about water safety,” Benjamin Allis, the aquatics director for the YMCA, said.

Tuesday, a 9-year-old boy was pulled out of Easton Beach after nearly drowning, and two men over 40 were rescued at Conimicut Point after the current ripped them into deep waters.

Michael Healey, a spokesperson of the the Department of Environmental Management, said it’s not abnormal for males to be more affected by these situations than females.

“Teenage boys between 15-19 are 10 times more likely to drown than girls of that same age group,” he said.

Though, no matter who you are, the water can always pose a threat.

“We’re probably taking about a handful of tragedies or a handful of fatalities every year, it’s too many and we want to do whatever we can do to prevent those,” Healey added.

How can we prevent those? Tips like learning how to swim, having parental supervision, and never swimming alone can help.

The YMCA offers swim lessons through memberships, but also has partnerships with organizations like the Papitto Foundation or Swim Empowerment that offer free courses to swimmers of any age.

“Regardless of income, we have the ability to make sure that every single person, learns to swim,” Allis said.

There have been moderate risk rip current warnings issued for the Newport area on Wednesday, and that extends west towards Charlestown area on Thursday. Rip currents might last through the weekend.

For a map and updates on where to be cautious, click here, to access the National Weather Service site in our area.

Categories: News, Rhode Island, Warwick