WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Calls for change are echoing across Warwick after a dangerous riptide took the lives of two people on Sunday.
On the sandbar at Conimicut Point, a cross bears the names of Yoskarly Martinez, 10, and Valentin Cardona Sanchez, 35.
A makeshift memorial also sits at the base of the signs warning of the dangers of the water nearby.
“I would compare it underneath almost like whitewater rafting, where you get that turbulence in there,” city worker Keith Almon said. “But in whitewater rafting, you can see it. You know it’s coming. But out there, it’s easily underestimated how strong it is until you’re out in it.”
Almon is a longtime Warwick resident who is familiar with the Conimicut Point rip current, having been caught in it himself. That’s why he and other residents are pushing for more prominent signage there to prevent these types of incidents from happening again.
“We all agree the signage is the most important and you have to perhaps light it up, make it larger,” longtime resident Carol Faufaw said Tuesday.
Almon also suggested posting the warnings in different languages to make sure anyone who’s unfamiliar with the area will be aware of the potential dangers. Martinez was visiting the beach from Providence, while Cardona Sanchez, who’s originally from Guatemala, hailed from Central Falls.
“Having a monument here with the names of all the people who’ve drowned, maybe that would impact people,” Faufaw added.
12 News took their suggestions to Warwick Mayor Frank Picozzi for consideration.
“They’re all valid ideas. We’re going to look at all of that,” Picozzi said. “Everyone who has an idea, I’d like to hear it. I mean, I don’t have the answers, we need to find the answers.”
Picozzi went on to say he’s planning to meet with Warwick police and fire officials and the R.I. Department of Environmental Management to discuss ways to make the area safer in the immediate future.