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Increased responsibilities for lifeguards this holiday weekend

Increased responsibilities for lifeguards. WSBT Photo.
Increased responsibilities for lifeguards. WSBT Photo.
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Thousands of people are visiting local beaches this Fourth of July.

But more beachgoers means more responsibilities for lifeguards.

Silver Beach is bringing in extra staff to help with the crowds.

Usually, the Silver Beach lifeguard team has six guards. This weekend they had seven.

While one extra guard may not seem like much, it gives them extra help to stay alert and take needed breaks.

Most people go to the beach for a fun relaxing time.

“You can see the weather is beautiful, a little breezy, the sun goes in and out. We're enjoying it,” said Sam Brasile, Clinton Township, MI resident.

But for lifeguards, it's anything but relaxing, especially during a busy holiday weekend.

They go to the beach, hoping for a non-eventful day.

“As you can see it's packed shoulder-to-shoulder with tents which can be hard to see with the sand,” said Luke Bingaman, Silver Beach Head Lifeguard.

The more people and distractions there are, the more liabilities lifeguards look out for and try to prevent.

And while Independence Day was busy, it's nothing compared to Sunday's crowds.

“There's probably 30-percent less people here than there were from yesterday. It was incredibly busy,” said Susan Snyder, St. Joseph County beachgoer.

Susan Snyder and her group of friends told WSBT it was so busy that people were having a hard time looking for a place to sit on the beach.

This makes it much harder it is for lifeguards trying to keep an eye on everyone, making sure they stay safe.

“The Fourth of July gets so crowded and so packed that our guards get easily fatigued. So, we require them to take their hour break,” said Bingaman.

Even more so because of Lake Michigan's conditions, such as rip currents, water temperature, and waves, lifeguards must be on full alert for those both in and out of the water.

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In addition to the extra lifeguard to make sure it's a safe Independence Day, more Berrien County deputies are patrolling Silver Beach along with extra park rangers.

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