Beach Safety Summit in Milford

Recent drowning sparked a call for better safety measures at Silver Sands.

A group of lawmakers and safety officials met Monday to make swimming at Silver Sands State Park in Milford a safer place to enjoy summer fun in the water.

On July 4, rescue crews filled Silver Sands, trying to find Rocco Daddio, 34, of Hamden.

He was out on the sandbar with a 9-year-old boy when the tide came in and pulled him under. Daddio couldn't swim, and ended up drowning.

Two weeks before that tragedy, three teens were also rescued from the same spot.

"I think what we've got to do is take into consideration the history of what has happened along the tombolo leading out to Charles Island, and I think we have to educate not only our local people, but all the visitors to that park," said Rep. Richard Roy.

Roy was one of the members of the beach safety summit that addressed concerns about the sandbar and what can be done to make sure visitors enjoy it in a safe manner. The summit focused on three topics: awareness, communication and response.

"One of the first ideas that came out again was connecting Channel 16 to our local boaters. There's no cost associated with that. We're hoping to have a plan in place within a week," said Sen. Gayle Slossberg.

That would allow boaters to hear when there's an emergency in the area. If they're close to the area, they may be able to get there faster than first responders. Other suggestions included more 911 call boxes in the park and increased signage around the sandbar. There are already danger signs out by the sandbar, but beach-goers say there should more information on them.

"I think maybe a time, say if you're going to visit the island come back by a certain time would be smart. Have it posted high tide and low tide right at the beginning of the sandbar, so you know what you're getting into before you head out there," said Lori Johnstone of Oxford.

According to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, there are times posted at the lifeguard chairs where visitors can check to see what the best times are to be out on the sandbar. The DEEP has also started to close the sandbar during high tide.

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