Nova Scotia

Despite lack of lifeguards, swimmers flock to beaches

Many beachgoers, hoping for a supervised swim, may be disappointed that seasonal lifeguard service has ended at many Nova Scotia beaches.
A lack of lifeguard supervision didn't stop people from heading to the beach during Monday's hot weather. (CBC)

Many beachgoers hoping for a supervised swim may be disappointed that seasonal lifeguard service has ended at many Nova Scotia beaches.  

Despite Sunday being the last day of supervised swimming at many beaches, including Dollar Lake Provincial Park, swimmers flocked to the shore to escape the heat.  

Beaches with supervision ending Aug. 26

Heather Beach, Cumberland Co.

Pomquet Beach, Antigonish Co.

Bayfield Beach, Antigonish Co.

Port Hood Beach, Inverness Co.

Mira Gut Beach, CBRM

Ingonish Beach, CBRM

Point Michaud Beach, Richmond Co.

Port Maitland Beach, Yarmouth Co.

Ellenwood Lake Beach, Yarmouth Co.

Mavillette Beach, Digby Co.

Bayswater Beach, HRM

Dollar Lake Beach, HRM

Clam Harbour Beach, HRM  

Beaches with supervision ending Sept. 3

Dominion Beach, CBRM

Lawrencetown Beach, HRM (supervised weekends until Sept. 16)

Queensland Beach, HRM

Rainbow Haven Beach, HRM

Martinique Beach, HRM

Aylesford Lake Beach, Kings Co.

Rissers Beach, Lunenburg Co.

Melmerby Beach, Pictou Co.

Lake Milo Boat Club, Yarmouth Co.

Katie Oliver visited the popular park with her three children on Monday and she said she has concerns over the lack of supervision.  

"I think it's very unsafe for all these children. There should be a lifeguard here at all times, even if only certain hours — but definitely (there) should be somebody here," she said.

Lifeguards are paid through provincial grants and administered by the Lifesaving Society of Nova Scotia and the Nova Scotia Lifeguard Service.  

Mike Melenchuck, president of the Lifesaving Society of Nova Scotia, says staffing is tough this time as year as lifeguards head back to university.  

"We do our best to maintain coverage where we can as long as we can," says Melenchuck.

Monday at Lawrencetown Beach, there were lifeguards on duty who will be there until Labour Day, then supervising weekends only until Sept. 16.  

Rachel Betuik was the lead lifeguard on Monday. She says the warmer temperatures mean there are more people in the water, who may not be aware of rip currents and the dangers they pose.  

"Just because it's Labour Day weekend, people will still be coming to the beaches after the fact. It's something we do worry about because it is Nova Scotia, we do get tourists in the fall and people — just not knowing what's safe and what's not safe, there's still a high risk of people meeting unfortunate ends if we don't have lifeguards on the beaches."  

Lesley Choyce lives in Lawrencetown and has lobbied successfully to get additional lifeguards at the beach. But he says with the warm water temperatures continuing into the fall, the province needs to extend lifeguard service.  

"It's great that they're going to be here for a couple of weekends in September. I'd like to have them here every weekend through the entire month of September and, if at all possible, a skeleton crew through the week," says Choyce  

The province has no plan to extend lifeguard services beyond what is now in place, but Choyce says the government needs to ensure people who visit beaches are safe.