Lifeguards staying busy at Carteret Co. beaches; teens getting training


ATLANTIC BEACH, Carteret County - This summer has proved to be a deadly one for beachgoers along our coast.

The latest victim was a 59-year-old Nevada man who was caught up in a rip current while swimming off the coast of Fort Macon with his 24-year-old son, who was hospitalized. The man's death marks the fifth rip current-related death along the Bogue Banks this summer.

Atlantic Beach firefighters say this year the waters are rougher than usual, but are doing everything they can to make sure their lifeguards are prepared to save someone at a moment's notice.

That starts with training - and this week there is a group of 13- to 17-year-olds going through junior lifeguard boot camp on the shores of Atlantic Beach.

"We specifically teach them how to recognize a rip current, recognize that someone is in distress even if they don't know that they are in distress," Lt. J. Scott Bell said. And while the junior lifeguards have been practicing this week using dummies and instructors, some actually got a chance to put what they were learning into practice in a real-life event. "We were actually doing a free swim out here with our entire group of kids ... and a couple kind of adjacent to our area ... got in over their heads and weren't able to make any progress into shore," Bell said. "It was recognized by some of our guards as well as some of the junior lifeguards who pointed it out and they went over there and assisted them."