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Local group forms to educate about beach safety

Kiwana Denson knows how important it is to be familiar with area's beaches
Posted at 8:16 PM, Feb 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-12 00:12:27-05

A local group is bringing attention to the importance of beach safety. It's a topic especially important because Spring Break is just a few weeks away.

The message that group, called the Beach Safety Task Force, is trying to get across is "Don't test the waters."

The group has been working together since last summer to come up with different ways to inform people about being safe on our local beaches, and those ideas will come to fruition when Spring Break kicks off.

Kiwana Denson, whose 18-year-old son Je'Sani Smith died after being pulled under by a rip current near Bob Hall Pier, is part of the task force.

"No one is stronger than the water," said Denson. "I'll tell you that. I know that from first experience."

Losing her son has motivated her to help save others' lives. With the help of local residents, city and county leaders, Denson has been involved in forming the Beach Safety and Rip Current Awareness Task Force.

So far, they've come up with the idea of putting up two mobile, flashing signs to warn beachgoers about the risk of rip currents, as well as informing them about the beach flag system. These signs belong to TxDOT.

"We just want them to have the awareness," said Denson. "We want them to have the knowledge, and be able to make the right decisions and know their own limits."

A spokesperson with TxDOT said one sign will be placed on Park Road 22, near the Aquarius Street intersection, as you're getting off the JFK Causeway and heading toward Mustang Island and Padre Island. The other sign will be placed in Port Aransas on Highway 361, on the approach to the ferry landing.

"As people come in, they will see the sign, especially if they've been to this area before, they'll notice that sign hasn't been there before," said Denson.

She just hopes the new signage will also pique people's interest, and potentially save someone's life.

"We feel, without a doubt, feel like we have to prevent this from happening to someone else," said Denson.

During Spring Break, the Beach Safety Task Force is also handing out informational brochures to beachgoers about beach safety and rip currents. There will also be additional lifeguards educating and communicating with beachgoers about beach safety.

If you would like to volunteer to hand out information, you can send an email to

A press conference will be held Feb. 28th kicking off the beach safety initiative. KRIS 6 News will provide more details as we get closer to that event.