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No lifeguards at 2 Lewes beaches this summer

May 16, 2022 GMT

LEWES, Del. (AP) — Staffing challenges mean there won’t be lifeguards at Lewes’ Savannah and Johnnie Walker beaches this summer, a city official said.

City Manager Ann Marie Townshend said the city was not in a position to safely guard the two municipal beaches, The News Journal reported. The city didn’t want to inadequately staff the beaches and create a “false sense of security,” she said.

The city intends to return to a full lifeguarding staff in the future, Townshend said. Meanwhile, people should continue following beach rules and be careful while swimming and enjoying the beach, she said.

Many Delaware resort towns have increased pay or benefits to attract more summer employees. Lewes recently increased lifeguard pay from $13.49 per hour to $16 per hour to compete with neighboring municipalities.

In the past, Lewes has had lifeguards patrolling from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. throughout the summer. Last year, Lewes hired eight lifeguards, two fewer than has been typical. Beaches were unguarded for a weekend in August due to low staffing.