Thursday, July 23, 2015

Senate Approves Tarr Beachgoer Protection System

“Caleigh’s Bill” Enhances Safety With Uniform Flag Warning Standard

Boston- Today, the Senate unanimously approved a bill sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester), intended to enhance the safety of millions of swimmers attracted to public beaches by summer heat through the establishment of a color-coded flag system. Tarr filed the legislation, known as “Caleigh’s Bill”, following the tragic loss of Caleigh Harrison, a two-year old Gloucester girl, who is believed to have been swept out to sea while on Rockport’s Long Beach in April 2012.
“The memory of Caleigh’s disappearance will live with all of us for a very long time; her family’s loss is a great tragedy and an inspiration for us to act,” said Tarr.  “Her uncle, David Harrison, spurred our legislative efforts when he learned about the uniformity of water warning systems in other states and countries.  In adopting this bill, Massachusetts will promote greater awareness of the potential dangers that the ocean can present so that we can protect lives and enhance enjoyment of our coastline.”
Senate Bill 1956, a bill creating uniform beach warnings, co-sponsored by Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante and Senators Vinny deMacedo, and Donald F. Humason will:

·         Require the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to develop a uniform warning and safety flag program to be used at all public beaches maintained by DCR, by providing a uniform size, shape, color, and definition for each warning and safety flag,

·         Allow a municipality to adopt the uniform flag warning and safety program by requiring a vote by a city council, town council, or town meeting,

·         Create a water quality procedure that ensures timely and accurate updates.

The bill now moves to the House of Representatives for further consideration.