Fewer guards means more awareness

It would probably be safe to consider today part of the fabled “dog days of summer.”

It’s been hot. The season is beginning to wind down as students make their way back to school. And the grind of another busy summer has most people (particularly those fortunate enough to live here) walking around with their tongues hanging out and eyes half shut.

The Department of Natural Resource’s (DNREC) Division of Parks & Recreation announced earlier this week that the locations for lifeguarded ocean swimming beaches in Delaware State Parks are changing beginning next week. Some of the beaches will be unguarded over the next few weeks, while others will only be guarded on the weekends. All swimming beaches will continue to be guarded on weekends through Labor Day, and the hours will remain from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for lifeguards at those locations.

Here’s the thing: Fewer, or no, lifeguards on duty at various beaches does not mean they are necessarily safe. It means that they have fewer lifeguards to protect people on those beaches. Which means, obviously, that people must practice more caution and common sense when they are swimming at unguarded beaches than normal.

Don’t let yourself drift out too far from shore, remain vigilant on your surroundings and the waves around you and, if you have children with you, keep them close when they are playing in the water.

The ocean is a wonderful place to both relax and have fun. Just make sure you are not putting yourself at risk.