Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Recurrent Alert! Summer of the Big Dig!

Cheap "Big Yellow" Toy Shovel Abandoned Recently At The Beach

As previously noted in an earlier blog post on the proliferation of cheap beach toys, have you ever seen so many kids and families digging in the sand?!...  We're talking fox holes, trenches, deep holes, and tunnels.  The principal reason for this dramatic increase is the aforementioned proliferation of cheap plastic toy shovels such as "Big Yellow", above.

Typical beach towels and toy shovels that are left discarded on our beaches

These diggings represent a couple of dangers for us as lifeguards. 

First and Foremost, you could trip and fall in one of these obstacles or even break a leg.  As first responders such injuries could imperil our ability to save lives in danger in the water. 

Secondly, the tunnels are of concern because of the potential for collapse.  Just this past weekend in Monmouth County in New Jersey, a youngster died from a collapse of the tunnel he had dug in the sand on the beach.

It is, therefore, imperative, that we as lifeguards:

a. Watch very carefully where you walk or run.  In this regard, there should be no holes or digging permitted in the coned area adjacent to our towers, as well as the area in front of our towers all the way to the low tide line.  Avoid running diagonally across your coned area and then on to the soft sand where patrons are seated as that is where you may encounter these obstacles.

b.  Be sure to do your foot patrols to check on what obstacles have been dug in the sand.  In this regard, several weeks ago I discovered a large hole and a tunnel that had been dug by a family
just to the north of SMN Tower #4 and a concerted effort had been undertaken to obscure this effort with umbrellas, beach towels and chairs.  Once discovered, I explained the new County Reg. that forbids any digging deeper than 18 inches and then together we filled in the excavation project.  An hour or so later I returned to this area on another foot patrol and encountered another family excavating with toy shovels and their hands in an effort to recreate this deep hole and tunnel.

Another popular effort by kids is to dig a hole several feet deep and put a kid in feet first and bury him up to his/her neck.  In this effort, their head, arms and hands lean deep into the holes they are digging.   Earlier this week while on a walk along SMS while the Tower #17 guard was in the water in a rip making a rescue I came across a young boy busily and quickly digging a hole with the intention to bury his younger brother up to his neck.  I advised him about the 18 inch rule which he seemed to me to dismiss. Meanwhile his father did not understand a word of what I was saying as he apparently did not speak English and he spoke in a foreign language with a Middle East accent.

On my return from my off duty beach walk I came across two ankle or leg breaking holes in the sand just above the berm.  These holes had been dug earlier in the day and left that way and the diggers were long gone.  I called attention to these holes adjacent to and in front of the open and manned lifeguard tower and then filled in the holes so no one would trip in them, esp. nearing dusk or later in the evening.  Such holes as can cause serious injury should be filled by on duty lifeguards while on their foot patrols in this lifeguard's opinion.

Below are a few of the holes and diggings I have encountered and which are included herein to reinforce the importance of watching where we step and to conduct foot patrols to discover dangers and to fill in holes that exceed 18 inches in depth or which otherwise have been abandoned and left for other patrons to fall in and get hurt.
Classic Fox Hole

Another Fox Hole

Classic Ankle Breaker/Hole Left Behind by Diggers

Be careful out there, Recurrents!



Until next time.....

"County Recurrent" News
Discarded/Abandoned Toys & Stuff Found At The Beach

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