Rip Currents to Take Weekends Off

Sundae Horn
Rip Currents to Take Weekends Off

The National Park Service issued a notice of intent to contract for lifeguard services on Ocracoke for five days a week (Monday – Friday) this summer.

The notice went out on April 22nd, and unless NPS hears from another qualified vendor by May 6th, they will contract with Sandski, LLC of Kill Devil Hills. Sandski will provide lifeguard services from Memorial Day to Labor Day, five days a week, from 9am – 5pm. They will have at least two lifeguards on duty during those hours. 

Sandski, LLC has experience on the Outer Banks and provides lifeguard services to the towns of Duck and Southern Shores, among others. NPS was able to announce a sole service contract with them because “Market research has found no other manufacturer which can provide services that meet (or exceed) both the physical specifications (US Lifeguard Association certifications) and the knowledge of North Carolina Outer Banks Shoreline, surf dynamics, natural beach processes, bottom formation, and current/wave action.”

Cape Hatteras National Seashore superintendent Barclay Trimble said that he will meet with Hyde County manager Bill Rich on Friday to discuss the possibility of the county paying for two more days of lifeguard services.

If that happens, the county would enter into a separate contract with Sandski, LLC. 

Trimble says it’s too early to talk about NPS lifeguards for next year.

“We need to see how this scenario plays out,” he said. “We’ll re-evaluate at the end of the season and see if the contract worked well. We don’t even know what our 2015 budget will be.”

Trimble is hoping to put a positive spin on the collaboration between NPS and the community of Ocracoke.

“We’ll issue a press release when the contract is awarded, explaining how the community is partnering with us to provide lifeguards.,” he said. “It can be a real positive, and we’ll consider how the community would like to be portrayed.”

The subject of lifeguard funding came up at the April 27th Occupancy Tax board meeting thanks to Darlene Styron, who fears the bad precedent set by helping NPS provide what many see as their responsibility. 

OT board member Martha Garrish expressed interest in more community input. "What does the majority of the island say?" she asked. "Should we spend $10,000 so we have seven days, or just let the Park Service pay for five days and not set the precedent?"

The 10K figure is just an estimate, and Bill Rich should know more of the details after his powwow with Trimble on Friday. Meanwhile, please weigh in. Comment on this story, and/or contact Bill or an OT board member (Wayne Clark, Trudy Austin, Clayton Gaskill, Frank Brown and Martha Garrish) and let them know what you think. We love letters to the editor at the Current, too! Send to

In a classic case of irony, the Park Service recently celebrated National Parks Week and encouraged families with children age 5 – 13 to participate in the Junior Seashore Ranger program. The first lesson in the Junior Seashore Ranger handbook is “Beware the Power of the Sea.” One of the rip current survival tips is “In the summer, swim at a lifeguarded beach.” Just not on the weekends, kids.



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