Area beaches without lifeguards raising concerns after 4 drownings in NC

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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — With summer now in full swing, people from all over are visiting area beaches for some fun in the sun. However, mother nature can be deadly and so far this month four people have died in rip currents.

It is a dangerous reality that has many people heading to Brunswick County beaches concerned, especially with no lifeguards on site.

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“I had no idea that there wasn’t any lifeguards on this beach,” visitor, Savannah Hughes said.

There are no lifeguards on any beaches in Brunswick or Pender counties, including Holden Beach where many visitors and residents are worried for their children’s safety.

“I have pros and cons on it really. Sometimes I think we need them and sometimes maybe not. But most of the time I really think that there should be some kind of security,” resident, James McGrane said.



With deadly rip currents north of us, killing two people in Atlantic Beach and two in Emerald Isle, Hughes says there needs to be a lifeguard present.

“The town should definitely have lifeguards on every beach,” Hughes said. “Because I don’t know what to do, I don’t have a clue. It makes me very nervous.”

Holden Beach Town Manager David Hewett says the topic of lifeguards have been discussed before, but there is just not enough of a demand.

“Circumstances at Holden Beach are very safe. And, you know, we’re known as a family beach and the service for lifeguards isn’t needed,” Hewett said.

Hewett adds rip currents are not as common in the area compared to Wrightsville Beach.

“Although there are some that happen from time to time, and as always those are you know, present their own set of challenges and dangers. But for the most part the beaches in South Brunswick anyway are very safe,” Hewett said.

However, McGrane can testify otherwise. Five years ago McGrane saved his grandchildren before being pulled out to sea by a rip current at Holden Beach.

“We were out wading and it just happened,” McGrane said. “It wasn’t rough that day. You know, seemingly rough or we wouldn’t have been out there with the grandchildren.”

It was a situation that could have taken a turn for the worse, especially with no one out there to help.

“In the position I was in I would have definitely needed a lifeguard at that time. Cause it could have came out a different away, we don’t know. We were just, like I said fortunate,” McGrane said.

McGrane says the town should have lifeguards on duty at all times, but at the very least for holidays when the beaches are packed.

Experts say if you are caught in a rip current always try to remain calm, swim parallel to the shore and let the wave push you in. If you see someone who needs help call 911 first, but if you are on an unguarded beach and have to help, be sure to bring a flotation device with you.

Another suggestion, always check the water conditions for the beach plan on visiting. To find out that information, click here.