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Government advertising to recruit more lifeguards

Lifeguards started patrols at Horseshoe Bay this month — but four days later than scheduled, according to the Ministry of Public Works.

The Government has also advertised for more lifeguards with a closing date for applications of May 28.

Lifeguards are meant to patrol John Smith’s, Clearwater and Turtle beaches from May 24.

In March, US holidaymaker Hyon Duk Shin died while trying to save a child who was struggling in the waters off Horseshoe Bay.

Mr Shin, 49, an American civil engineer from Berwyn, Pennsylvania, was visiting the island with his wife and two young sons when tragedy struck on March 27.

The family had arrived on the Norwegian Getaway cruise ship and were at the beach with hundreds of other passengers.

Eyewitness reported that Mr Shin swam towards a child struggling in high waves before getting into difficulties himself.

He died in the water before emergency services arrived and despite the efforts of Bermudian Ali Watlington.

It prompted Ms Watlington, a trained lifeguard, to write to Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, on April 5.

She urged him to prioritise the allocation of resources to extend the lifeguard and park ranger patrols to run from March 1 until November 30.

The lifeguard season runs from May 1 to October 31, which for several years mirrored the cruise season but ships carrying thousands of people now arrive much earlier.

In a reply to Ms Watlington, Colonel Burch said the Government was exploring expanding the service but added that there was a severe shortage of lifeguards locally and the majority recruited for the summer season were guest workers.

On May 1, The Royal Gazette e-mailed the ministry and asked for an update on which beaches had lifeguards, how many lifeguards there were, what hours per day they worked and how many days a week.

In a response on May 14, a spokesman for the ministry said: “Lifeguards are on duty at Horseshoe Bay, having started on May 5.

“The coverage is managed/scheduled according to available staffing.

“The minister will provide more details to the House [of Assembly] on Friday, covering recruitment efforts, coverage of beaches and the plans for the future.”

A lack of lifeguard coverage prompted an alert from the US Consulate on April 18, which warned about the dangers of rip tides and urged people to “take all precautions”.

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Published May 16, 2024 at 7:56 am (Updated May 16, 2024 at 7:56 am)

Government advertising to recruit more lifeguards

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