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Pinellas to post 78 rip current warning signs along county beaches

in The Bay and the 'Burg by

Back in October of 2015, Pinellas County Commission decided to revaluate beach safety measures throughout the county.

The move came following the drowning of 9-year-old Cameron Bullard, who was playing with cousins in ankle-deep water on St. Pete Beach — being watched by adult family members — when a large wave suddenly swept the boy deeper into the Gulf with the rip current.

Pinellas Marine units, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife were all involved in the search.

“It was certainly a tragedy,” said Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch, who attended the boy’s funeral services. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to that family.”

In hopes of preventing the tragedy from occurring again, and at the recommendation of Welch, Commission decided at that October 20 meeting to include warning signage that highlights the potential dangers of shifting tides along area beaches. A work session was held on January 19 to sort out some of the details.

The effort is part of the county Parks Department’s beach safety program, which, while still in the semi-early stages of development, will include 78 of these warning signs along county shorelines.

The program is being designed in accordance with the county’s public health, safety and welfare policy. The policy ensures “a safe and secure community” by providing “planning, coordination, prevention, and protection services.”

“A parent might think that if you’re in ankle-deep water, you’re OK,” commented Welch at the October 20 Commission meeting. “Obviously, sometimes, that’s not the case.”

The hash-tag #‎RememberingCameron is being used by supporters, family and friends of the boy on social media to commemorate is life.

Devon Crumpacker is a Tampa Bay based writer and reporter for Extensive Enterprises Media. He primarily covers Pinellas County politics for SaintPetersblog.com, but also makes time to write the occasional bar review for FloridaBarTab.com. He lives in St. Petersburg with his fiance, Sydney. To contact, e-mail devon@floridapolitics.com, or visit his Twitter page @DevonCrumpacker.

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