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Dangerous waters make beach safety paramount

Posted 10/18/2011   Updated 10/18/2011 Email story   Print story


by Airman Basic Anthony Jennings
36th Wing Public Affairs

10/18/2011 - ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam  -- Although it may be beautiful, the geological makeup of the Tarague and Sirena beach areas make swimming in the area alone, or disregarding the warnings a dangerous, and possibly fatal, activity.

"Tarague Beach and Sirena Beach have dangerous and extreme rip tides due to the proximity of the coral reefs and areas in the reefs known as 'scuba cuts,'" said Ray Stiers, 36th Force Support Squadron outdoor recreation manager. "These rip tides can carry someone in the water several hundred yards out to see and are nearly impossible to swim against. They also cause vortices which, in the past, have taken the lives of swimmers."

Effective as of May 1, 2011, a new "Swim at Own Risk" policy was put in effect at Tarague Beach. While this means that life guards will no longer be on duty, it enhances your availability to a tremendous resource on Andersen AFB.

The policy allows water entry to Tarague Beach to base populace for essentially seven days a week during daylight hours. Swimming in the waters at Sirena Beach is prohibited. Reservations must be made up to two weeks in advance for camping.

"This change requests patrons exercise responsibility and it is critical that all visitors to Tarague follow conspicuously posted directives," said Lt. Col. Brian Hinsvark, 36 FSS commander.

Water entry is permitted between the hours of 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and only within the buoyed area. The buddy system will be strictly enforced and it's vital to pay attention to the color coded warning signs.

"The buddy 'Wingman' system requests that before anyone enters the water, a minimum of two or more responsible individuals be on the beach or in the water at all times," said Mr. Stiers. "Never swim alone and never swim after drinking. Pay attention to the signs providing water condition information. This will let you know when high surf warnings or jellyfish warnings are in effect and no swimming is allowed."

Aside from rip tides, another element to be conscious of is the ocean critters the coral reefs. Marine animals such as the shark, lion fish, pacific man-o-war, trigger fish, fire coral, cone shell, urchin, moray eel and stone fish present a danger to those in the water. The coral can potentially cut or puncture skin. Reef walking is strictly prohibited.

Patrons enjoying the beach areas are also asked to be conscious of the environment and to clean up after using the area.

"These beaches are a privilege for those of us fortunate enough to access them, please respect the environment and it's habitats," said Arlene Bernardo, 36th Civil Engineer Squadron Environmental Flight senior consultant.

For more information about access and reservations to Tarague and Sirena Beach, contact Outdoor Recreation at 366-5197.

10/18/2011 5:06:28 AM ET
Thank you Very informative
Candace Lee, Andersen AFB Guam
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