Effort underway to bring lifeguards back to Hunting Island - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Effort underway to bring lifeguards back to Hunting Island

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You won't find very many people swimming in the water this time of the year at Hunting Island State Park beach.

As you drive towards Hunting Island State Park beach, you'll notice signs that say "No Lifeguard On Duty."

There have been six drownings in the last four years at the beach and a grassroots effort is underway to bring lifeguards back to that area.

It's been more than a decade since there were any along the island's three miles of natural beach.

Hilton Head Island attorney Russell Patterson is spearheading an effort to change that.

Some people like former lifeguard Dan Waters think it's a good idea.

"I can tell that the public does some strange things sometimes and very foolish things especially when they get in the water and the current here I've noticed that it kind of shifts and moves in this part," said Waters.

When it comes to lifeguards, people have mixed opinions about it.

Alex Keith visits Hunting Island several times a year with his family. He agrees lifeguards are needed.

"Especially in the summertime, this place is really covered up with people and with the tides and jettys they have here, I think it's a must to have lifeguards here," he said.  

The Lady's Island-St Helena Fire District provides emergency services to Hunting Island. They were called in this summer when three people drowned at the beach.

Sixteen year old John Mathai and his friends were among the few who braved the cold water Friday.

Mathai says he spent three summers lifeguarding in California and doesn't think it's necessary.

"If it's storming, you don't go out in the ocean. If you don't know how to swim, you don't go out past where you can't touch. You just need to use your head. I just think this beach is safe enough and people have enough common sense where it's not a necessary expenditure," he said.

Patterson plans to present the issue before the South Carolina Legislature on Jan. 9.

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