Friday, April 12, 2024

Lifeguards moving off beaches as season comes to an end

Wrightsville Beach Lifeguard Stand 12 and an ocean rescue vehicle near Crystal Pier on the town's south end. Photo by Hannah Leyva.
Wrightsville Beach Lifeguard Stand 12 and an ocean rescue vehicle near Crystal Pier on the town’s south end. Photo by Hannah Leyva.

It’s past Labor Day, which means the summer season is officially over in the beach towns.

While the water and weather are still warm, the end of the season means fewer lifeguards, if any, out on the beach strands.

In Kure Beach, a few lifeguards will still be out manning stands this weekend, according to the town’s fire department, which oversees ocean rescue. Though the full staff is no longer being deployed, fire officials will send lifeguards out as needed, depending on the amount of people out on the beach.

Further up Pleasure Island in Carolina Beach, Ocean Rescue Director Chad Soward said the lifeguards are pretty much done for the season.

“We only advertise from Memorial Day to Labor Day,” Soward said of the town’s active ocean rescue services. “We may have one or two guys taking a cruise up and down the beach on the ATVs to clean up and scan for any trouble, but we won’t have any lifeguard stands manned.”

Though active lifeguarding is over in Carolina Beach, Soward and other firefighters on duty will be at the station to respond to any water rescue calls that come in during the off season.

Wrightsville Beach Ocean Rescue will move into what they call “fall guarding,” according to firefighter and lifeguard Sam Proffitt.

“We’ll go down to having just four of our busiest stands manned, plus two ATVs and two trucks,” Proffitt said, noting the stands would be No. 3, No. 6, No. 8 and No. 12. “We’ll stay that way until the end of September, and then we’ll scale back even more.”

Fire departments in all three beach towns will continue to conduct ocean rescues throughout the winter and can be reached by calling 911

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