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Rip Current No. 1 Beach Danger

Learn what you can do to avoid beach death traps.

Bottom Line: Lifeguards Needed continued...

"I think a large number of people who go to the beach are from inland. They are not good swimmers; they are not familiar with ocean currents. They don't have a clue what to do in an emergency. I think they are lured onto unprotected beaches. 'Come to our beach, it is clean,' they say. But maybe if they were better informed they would choose to go to beaches with lifeguards."

Sandee LaMotte is angry. She is working to get Florida municipalities to pass "Larry's Law" -- requiring lifeguards on all public beaches.

"The current lack of protection is just callous disregard for human life," she says. "It has to change."

Brewster has been working for years to get Florida Gulf coast municipalities to establish lifeguards. Last week, the mayor and fire chief of Destin, Fla., spoke with him about establishing a lifeguard service. Most other northwest Florida communities, he says, haven't been as cooperative.

"It is my personal judgment that these communities are not going to change until forced to do so, shamed to do so -- which would take a lot -- or until they feel economically compelled to do so," Brewster says.

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Reviewed on June 17, 2003

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