New signs posted on Honeymoon Island State Park warn of rip currents

11:47 PM, May 26, 2012   |    comments
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DUNEDIN, Fla. - Park officials at Honeymoon Island have posted new signs warning swimmers of strong rip currents in the dog beach area.

This comes less than a week after 10 News did a story about a local man who nearly drowned at the state park while trying to save two children.

"This is a big step, I think, for the community in general," said Jim Paul.

Paul eventually wants "No Swimming" signs, but he's glad for what park officials have now posted. "I am surprised that they took action. To take action this quickly,I am even more surprised," he said.

Two new types of signs are now up in the dog beach area. One kind is bigger and brighter than the original brown sign that warns of rip currents. Another is brand new and reads, "Strong Current. Watch out. You could be swept away from land and drown. If in doubt, don't go out."

This area, on the south end of the beach and right near Hurricane Pass, is known for very strong rip currents. It's the first time strongly-worded signs have been posted.

State DEP officials say they've heard the call for more safety from visitors and beachgoers and take it very seriously. "We have ordered more signs with stronger language and we're going to put more signs up in more prominent places that warn visitors of the known strong tidal current and that swimming in that particular area of the beach is not recommended," said press secretary with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Jennifer Diaz.

It was this same area where, back in April, Alan Hall died while saving a child from rip currents. The 65-year-old retiree  left behind two children and a wife.

Paul is just thankful something positive came from such tragedy. "Her husband and my experience together have led to action. And that is the most important thing," he said.

10 News did speak to Hall's widow over the phone, who said she is "so happy" with the new signs, because she doesn't want anyone else to lose their life.

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