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New Hanover County beaches, pools in need of lifeguards

New Hanover County beaches, pools in need of lifeguards
Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 3:37 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - With summer officially here, many people are likely to hit the beach for vacation or even just an afternoon getaway.

Safety is a big deal for many families on vacation, but some beaches are seeing fewer lifeguards than normal.

“We had a lot of applicants, but I only had just a few people actually show up for work and go through the program,” said Fort Fisher Recreation Area Park Ranger Jason Howard. “I have three really good guards this year.”

As of Memorial Day, there were four out of six lifeguard positions still needing to be filled in Fort Fisher. Today, three of those four are still open.

It’s a problem a lot of areas are seeing, not just at beaches. Pools throughout New Hanover County are also looking to fill positions. Lifeguards at Legion Stadium were so busy on Tuesday that they couldn’t step away for an interview. The YMCA’s website shows plenty of open positions available.

With fewer lifeguards on the stands, there’s more ground to cover for lifeguards who are working. Since those on duty are dealing with a heavier workload, there are a few things to keep in mind as you head to the beach.

“Just use some caution. I know a lot of the area beaches are kind of short-staffed and stressed out,” said Howard. “We’re doing the best we can, just bear that in mind. When you come visit the beach, try not to go too far.”

The summer is just getting started, so there is hope the problem won’t last. In fact, training is available to anyone who is interested and eligible.

“You can contact me any time of year if you want information about our situation here,” said Howard. “You do a lot of physical training, so a lot of running, a lot of horizon swims where you swim out and that’s just to improve your physical condition.”

If you’re interested, call the Fort Fisher Recreation Area at 910-458-5798.

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