After Scare, Dennis Official Says Snorkelers Should Use Flags

snorkleDENNIS – Dennis lifeguards, fire officials, harbor officials and the US Coast Guard all responded yesterday morning to a call that a swimmer was in distress off West Dennis Beach.

Someone walking along the beach in the morning saw a swimmer disappear under the water who did not immediately re-emerge.

As it turned out, the swimmer was a snorkeler who was not in distress.

Dennis Beach and Recreation Director Justin Pineau said the incident shows the the need for snorkelers to let beach staff know what they are doing or to use a floating flag as a way to alert people on the beach.

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“He’s passed the swim buoys in an area where boats are going by, jet skis and everything else, it would just be a lot safer for him if he had some type of a flag or something notifying that there is a snorkeler in the area similar to what scuba divers do. I think it would just be much safer for him and much safer for boaters,” Pineau said.

Pineau said he was pleased that his staff was able to respond efficiently to the incident, even if it turned out not to be an emergency.

“It was a great teaching moment because I said it’s great you guys were there a half an hour early for your shift because if you are to be at your shift at 8 o’clock and you get there at 8 o’clock, by the time you get all set up and everything you might not be ready to go. But if you get there early, and something like this happens, they were ready to go, they were prepared and they just went,” he said.

He said the area is popular with walkers, particularly in the morning, so it is not surprising that an early morning snorkler was noticed.

“At least if they had seen a flag on the water, they would have known, must be a scuba guy or a snorkle guy and they’d be able to keep an eye on him with the binoculars. . . . A lot of walkers and runners and everybody likes to use that beach in the morning, they probably just thought the worst when they saw somebody go down,” he said.