CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY) — Three deaths at area beaches this past weekend begs the question: should lifeguard season last longer?
“Our hearts go out to the families that lost their loved ones in this situation,” Dan Wilcox, Carolina Beach mayor, said.
Two people dead in rip currents in Carolina Beach while trying to rescue a father and daughter. No lifeguard was on duty because the season ended Labor Day weekend. The town of Carolina Beach will discuss extending the season because people are still going to the beaches in the off-season.
“I think it would be very difficult knowing all the things would have to be able to just say ‘ we’re going to start providing lifeguards’ when we don’t have that man power and we don’t have a program in place,” Wilcox said.
He’s not the only one who wants to see change in the area.
“You probably wouldn’t need them or have them at every lifeguard stand, but if you had them at every other, given the fact that the beaches, while we still get a decent population, is nothing like it is at the height of summer, it would be a little bit manageable,” Joe Benson, a Carolina Beach mayoral candidate, said.
Spencer Rogers, a specialist at Sea Grant, says rip currents occur year-round. He says the recent back to back storms increase the size of the sand bars. This leads to water collecting behind them. The water looks for an escape route and becomes a rip current.
“On a bad day, they get people in serious trouble very quickly. The cause of drowning on most ocean beaches is rip currents,” Rogers says.
Rogers says people need to be aware of rip currents. He believes the best way to deal with it is to swim on a guarded beach.