If anybody thought things were going to slow down on the beach after July 4th, they were sadly mistaken. It’s been another week of sweltering heat, packed beach days to the point where you can’t even see the sand on 97th Street, and of course, cases (rescues). Sitting in the 90s (94th Street to 98th Street) is almost never an easy day, but this weekend was tougher than most on the lifeguards there.
On Friday afternoon, a struggling swimmer went under on Beach 93rd Street on the closed beach side of the rocks, a part of the water completely obstructed from the view of the nearest lifeguard stand. The rip current created by the rocks, which as I’ve said before is very dangerous, pulled the man around the rocks onto Beach 94th Street, where two patrons pulled him out. Lifeguards Kieran Courtney and Adam Wianecki acted fast and began performing CPR as soon as the victim was pulled from the water, while other guards ran to get oxygen and alert EMS. It was an amazing job by all lifeguards involved. They acted swiftly, did exactly what they were trained to do and remained calm under immense pressure. Luckily, EMS stays on the boardwalk on Beach 97th Street, so they arrived swiftly on the scene, shocked the victim twice, and were able to get a weak pulse back. He was taken to a local hospital alive, but in critical condition, and unfortunately, did not make it. Another preventable tragedy this summer, but nothing seems to be enough to keep people out of the water on closed beaches. Hopefully, with our continued efforts, things will begin to change, people will become more educated about the ocean, and these tragedies will become a thing of the past.
After a stressful day on Friday, Saturday didn’t give anybody a break. There were multiple cases (rescues) on Beach 97th, as well as a false shallow water sweep. When a child is missing for over 30 minutes, it’s protocol for lifeguards to clear the water (which takes upwards of 10 minutes on a packed Saturday), form a line at one end of the bay, and walk to the other side, sweeping our feet across the sand to ensure the missing child has not gone under. Fortunately, halfway through our sweep, the child was found by a lifeguard on Beach 109th Street and returned to his parents all the way back in 98th Street. While patrons were annoyed about having to leave the water over a false alarm, it was a far better scenario than if it hadn’t been a false alarm.
With the Shack Olympics coming up in just two weeks (July 25), each shack has begun to put together a roster of those competing for each event and drilling throughout the week to prepare. Shack spirit is running high, and everyone is excited for a fun night of friendly competition.
135 Shack has been shut down for the time being due to construction, so beaches between 115th-140th are closed to swimming. While locals and beach goers between those blocks aren’t happy, lifeguards in other shacks are happy to have a few more people around. Let’s all hope this week is a little more mellow than the previous few!