Conimicut neighbors considering rip tide warning system after drownings

(Madeleine Wright, WPRI-TV)

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — The Conimicut Village Association is working to prevent future drownings at Conimicut Point, and could soon get a rip tide warning system installed to tell beachgoers to stay out of the water.

The point is a popular spot for fishing and recreation. Right now, a static sign is the only warning that there may be dangerous currents. “A lot of people will go wade out to waist depth, and try to go out as far as they can, and not know the danger of the rip tide,” said Conimicut Village Association member Lonnie Barham on Wednesday.

The association is now looking to obtain grant money to install a rip tide warning system. Like a siren, a loudspeaker on the shore would play a recorded message in multiple languages, telling people to get out of the water — when measurement equipment fixed at the point’s sandbar detected dangerous rip currents.

The cost would be $50,000 to install the warning system and $5,000 a year for maintenance. Barham said they’re hoping it will be installed by next spring, so it can be up and running by summer.

The village association first considered the warning system proposal at a meeting Tuesday night, according to the Warwick Beacon.

Among recent drowning victims is 16-year-old Javon Jimenez, who was swept into deep waters and drowned at the Conimicut Point spit in July 2013.