Beach patrol captains changing safety protocols, providing more PPE

DELMARVA – As summer begins, people in Delaware and Maryland have begun hitting the beaches. Beach patrol captains tell 47ABC that they’re kicking off their seasons too. They say they’re making sure lifeguards can do their jobs while staying protected during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re out there doing the same job we’ve always done. We’re just taking the extra precautions,” said Ocean City Beach Patrol captain Butch Arbin.

With Memorial Day weekend behind them beach patrol captains in Rehoboth Beach and Ocean City say they’re looking ahead to the rest of the summer. Rehoboth Beach Patrol captain Kent Buckson says they’re not fully staffed yet, but are waiting for the green light from the city to hire more guards. “We do have the beach guarded. We’re just kind of spread out. The coverage distance is much farther apart. Typically it would be maybe one or two blocks. Now it’s three or four blocks,” said Buckson.

Arbin says about 80% of last year’s staff returned, but they have enough guards to protect beach goers. “When the public walks out on the beach, they look north, they look south. They’re going to see a stand, they’re going to see a guard in the stand. They won’t notice anything different,” said Arbin.

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, both Rehoboth Beach and Ocean City Beach Patrol say their lifeguards will be provided with extra PPE, like masks, gloves, and eye protection. 47ABC is also told Lifeguards will also be checked for any sign of sickness before they get out on the beaches. “My first priority was to make sure my staff was properly equipped with PPE, that we were practicing safety on our end so that we could provide safety for the public,” said Buckson.

Beach patrol captains say they’re making sure their lifeguards are prepared with new safety protocols. They say they’re training their guards, who will be prepared to jump into action. “We’ve removed some things from our testing, or modified the way we’re doing it. Like, we used to do something called a cross chest carry where you’re carrying an unconscious victim up out of the water. We’re using full body mannequins for that,” said Arbin.

Arbin says that they’re still recruiting life guards for this season in Ocean City. If you’d like to try out to be a lifeguard, you can register online, and attend the physical test on Mary 30th at 9 a.m.

Categories: Coronavirus, Delaware, Local News, Maryland