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ONLY ON 3: Lifeguards up early, stay late to keep beach visitors safe

READ MORE: ONLY ON 3: Lifeguards up early, stay late to keep beach visitors safe

CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY) -- Fourth of July weekend is here, and area beaches will be flooded with visitors. Crowds formed early on Carolina Beach, but while they come to relax, the lifeguards are here to work.

"Basically we all meet here at around 8:45 (a.m.), and then we assign stands and locations," head lifeguard Mallory Albritton said. "We then go out and workout, do swimming, running, some kind of physical training just to make sure that we all are staying in shape, practice rescuing just so we don't get behind on anything."

As Albritton manages the group throughout the day, she drives to each post frequently making sure those keeping their eyes on the water have everything they need. Michael Esposito has been a Carolina Beach lifeguard for three years. He says the job quickly grew on him.

"Kind of fell in love with it," Esposito said. "I love going to the beach, so I get to be at the beach all day, and I get to help people, so it's good karma."

It didn't take long to see Esposito in action Friday. With the rough surf beachgoers were not allowed today to go too far out on the water. He quickly rushed out to alert them before something could have happened.

"Since it's so rough today we're trying to keep people in pretty close, and I was whistling them to come in," he said. "They couldn't hear me, so I just swam out to them."

A lifeguard's day usually ends late, around 7 p.m. The long hours, though, are worth it to this team.

"So far this year we've had a really successful year," Albritton said. "We've been able to help people before anything escalates. I'm very pleased with the lifeguards we have this year. So far I've been going home very happy and pleased with the job that we've been doing."

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