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| Egerton & Associates, P.A. / CC BY 2.0

Saturday brought yet another drowning death this year. This time it happened at the beach near Fort Fisher, NC. 10 year old Emanuel Carter was vacationing with his family this weekend when they were all pulled into a rip current. Lifeguards were able to save his brother and parents, but were unable to save Carter. His body was found later that day during a search.

Lifeguards have heightened security enforcement following the accident, flying red flags on Sunday, reminding swimmers to only wade knee deep. The This doesn’t change the dangers of swimming in open waters. But lifeguards at Fort Fisher reminded News 14 Carolina:

The NWS issues a green color for low, yellow for moderate and red for high risk. But that forecast encompasses a broad stretch of oceanfront and not specific beaches. Forecasters lump these areas into zones due to similarities in their orientation…

…Regardless of which flag is flying, both forecasters and lifeguards say rip currents can form at any time. Beachgoers should stay alert and educate themselves on swimming along the coast.

Public beaches are manned with lifeguards, and while these brave individuals do the best they can, they are often far outnumbered by the swimmers they are meant to protect. And, even the best prepared lifeguard can’t always make it to a victim in time if they have been pulled out too far.

More lifeguards are needed at our beaches. Many beaches in North Carolina do not even have lifeguards. The beach I regularly visit at Topsail has none. I always take extra caution, generally staying away from the water.

Why were the safety precautions not enforced more strictly on Saturday? Only at times like these when people die, does the inadequate alert system, and understaffed safety patrol issue come to media attention. These issues need to be addressed before another person is killed. No family’s day of fun in the sun should turn into a situation like there was this weekend.

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