The American Red Cross-NMI Chapter will be erecting safety warning signs on eight sites along Saipan’s coast as part of the humanitarian organization’s promise to the family of a Japanese diver who died at The Grotto eight years ago.
According to ARC-NMI Chapter executive director John Hirsh, a total of 45 safety warnings signs will be erected with the help of the Boating Safety Division in eight locations: Obyan, Laulau, Forbidden Island, Wing Beach, Grotto, Micro Beach, and two other sites.
Hirsh made the announcement during yesterday’s Rotary Club of Saipan meeting at the Hyatt Regency Saipan, where he and ARC-NMI Chapter territory service delivery manager Kennedy Benjamin served as guest speakers.
It will be recalled that the family of the late Megumi Morita of Kobe, Japan, donated $10,000 to the ARC-NMI Chapter last April. Morita died in a diving accident at The Grotto in 2005. She was only 25.
“She died in a diving accident eight years ago but if you remember earlier this year someone died in Laulau during a diving accident and someone also drowned before in Obyan who went over the reef snorkeling and never came back,” said Hirsh.
He said it’s about time to warn residents and tourists alike that certain beach sites are not safe.
The 45 signs that will be up in eight locations will have warnings like “Rip currents, watch out,” “Keep off, slippery rocks,” and “High surf, can cause drowning and injury” and associated symbols emblazoned on them.
The “Keep off” sign is for Forbidden Island since it’s very dangerous there with the slippery rocks. The “Rip currents” sign is one for Sugar Dock “because there are very, very strong rip currents out there since that’s where the reef opens up and that’s why the surf is always strong behind Aquarius Beach Tower Hotel,” said Hirsh.
He said the signs will be in English but the symbols themselves are universally recognizable.
“They tell someone who is Russian, Korean, Chinese, or Japanese that they better ask what these signs say or ask someone to translate.”
It is the group’s hope that the 45 water safety signs will be erected by December 2013 or earlier. “Hope by the end of the year the signs will be up. Soon as we are done with our Club 200 fundraiser we will be able to focus our resources in putting up the signs,” he said.
Aside from the safety warning signs, the ARC-NMI Chapter will also conduct public awareness campaigns on water safety. Hirsh said the campaigns will initially be seen on the Marianas Visitors Authority website but their organization will also use print media to disseminate the information.
Unlike the safety warning signs, public awareness campaigns in English will be translated to Russian, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese.