Local News

Drownings Set Off Call for Kerr Lake Lifeguards

Posted July 16, 1998

— Kerr Lake's miles of beaches call out to anyone who loves the water. There, one can swim, boat, ski, or just soak up some rays. There's only one thing missing -- lifeguards. With three drownings already this summer, some people say it's time for a safety boost on the beach.

Kerr Lake State Park includes dozens of areas perfect for swimming, but not a single lifeguard. Despite the drownings over the past few weeks, park rangers say hiring lifeguards is not an option.

A woman drowned at Kerr lake's Satterwhite Point on Monday. A 17-year-old boy drowned in the same area in June. That same week, a two day search turned up the body of a man who drowned at Hibernia Point.

Signs at the park entrance warn visitors to swim at their own risk, but some people think it's time for the park to protect its visitors.

"Some form of lifeguards, somebody that knows how to do rescue swimming, somebody out here at all times would be a good idea," says

Park rangers say it would take at least 60 lifeguards to protect the 300 miles of shoreline that run through North Carolina, and that the state doesn't have the money or the manpower to hire them.

"It's pretty much physically impossible to get guards to manage that much waterfront," says

Kerr Lake State Park doesn't have designated beaches, but there are dozens of natural swimming areas. Rangers say visitors should know their own limitations before they hit the water.

"When people come out, they need to ... know not to get in water that's over their heads, they need to take a pal, someone who can swim," says

Jordan Lake and Falls Lake don't have lifeguards either, although both of those parks do have designated swimming areas.


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