Carolina Beach Ocean Rescue looking for lifeguards for upcoming season

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Carolina Beach Fire Department’s Ocean Rescue has kicked off its search for lifeguards for the upcoming season.

Carolina Beach Ocean Rescue Captain Shawn Kelly said last year, they –and many other beach towns, saw significantly low interest in people wanting to be lifeguards.

Kelly says the decrease in applicants last year was due to residual effects of the pandemic, inflation ,and competitive pay for other jobs.

This year, he anticipates to see an increase in lifeguard applicants.

“We’re getting started as early as we possibly could. You know, for it being two years outside of COVID. Yes, those numbers have kind of dialed back than seasons past, on the quantity of guards that we’ve had,” said Shawn Kelly, Carolina Beach Ocean Rescue captain. “So, last year was a little trying for, –you know, most beaches, trying to find a lot of full time guards, but we’re really think that this year is going to start to turn around and the outcome will be a little bit better showing than it has been in the past.”

Kelly says they plan to have between 40 and 45 lifeguards for the season.

He also says last year’s tourist season was a busy one, and they’re anticipating the same this year, which means they need people who will be willing and able to keep everyone safe.

“This is a serious job. It’s not just your typical summer job,” Kelly said. “So, people’s lives are on the line. So, we’re out there making sure everybody stays safe. You know, a responsible young adult.”

Those who apply will also have to tryout at the Hamlet Beach Access on April 29, which includes the completion of a 500 meter swim, and a 1 mile run. Those who are successful will then begin training.

“Training’s go on and on, but we do have a lot of fun as well in-between. They train hard, they work hard, but we also play hard,” said Kelly.

Lifeguards will be on the beach full-time starting the Friday of Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.

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