Use common sense when playing at the beach

They don’t “roll up the sidewalks” in the beach towns on Labor Day anymore, but this weekend is still the unofficial curtain for the 2019 summer season.

Oh, not all is lost in the beach communities. The shoulder season is now an exciting entity unto itself, with festivals, fairs and shows taking place every weekend for the next several months, and many businesses will at least open their doors for those weekend shoppers. The area no longer goes in to hibernation after the first week of September, but things do, in fact, change.

One change we’ve already seen along the beaches is that there are fewer lifeguards on duty, as many have returned to school for the fall semester. In fact, the hours and locations for lifeguarded ocean swimming beaches in DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation’s state parks have changed as of Monday, Aug. 26.

All those beaches are scheduled to be guarded this weekend, with limited staff.

This is important to keep in mind, as surf conditions have been rough up and down the coast. Yes, there will be lifeguards. But remember that there will be fewer than normal, so it’s up to beach-goers to take a little bit more of their safety into their own hands.

The ocean is not a pool. It can be dangerous, and it can be dangerous to people of any skill level in regards to swimming proficiency. Being a strong swimmer does not mean you can take your water safety for granted.

Labor Day weekend marks the unofficial end to summer here. Let’s not make it the ultimate end for any of our visitors or residents.