Drownings at New York City beaches prompt calls for longer lifeguard hours

ByLindsay Tuchman WABC logo
Wednesday, July 10, 2024 10:22PM
Recent drownings prompt calls for longer lifeguard hours at NYC beaches
Lindsay Tuchman has details on calls for enhanced beach safety.

CONEY ISLAND (WABC) -- Water safety is crucial during stretches of brutal heat, particularly as more people visit area beaches.

Following a string of recent drownings at local beaches while lifeguards were not on duty, some are now calling for expanded hours.

But now questions are being raised about whether extended hours are even a possibility as the city struggles to meet lifeguard demand.

A lack of lifeguards is top of mind for some city leaders.

So far this summer, there have been four reported drownings in the city, including two teenage sisters at Coney Island Beach last week.

However, the lifeguard shortage isn't just limited to New York City, it is pervasive across the country.

In New York, officials say about 800 lifeguards are working and 100 more to start this summer but they need 1600 to adequately staff pools and beaches citywide.

One city council member and chair of the parks committee suggests expanding lifeguard training facilities, implementing a junior lifeguard training program in schools plus an increase in parks department funding to 1 percent of the city budget.

"We have to continue to make sure, as the DM stated, that we educate parents and loved ones on when is the time to be in the water. We don't want people in the water when lifeguards are not on duty," New York City Mayor Eric Adams, said during a pressing conference.

Right now, there is no plan to expand lifeguard hours past 6 p.m. NYPD and FDNY pick up guarding duties via drones and take over until 7 and 8 p.m.

FDNY firefighters and drone technology have already played a huge role in supporting lifeguards this summer, like over the weekend when five swimmers got stuck on a jetty on Sunday.

Emergency Management First Deputy Commissioner Christina Farrell discusses managing extreme temperatures in NYC this summer on Eyewitness News Mornings @ 10:

Emergency Management First Deputy Commissioner Christina Farrell discusses managing extreme temperatures in NYC this summer.

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