For those who didn’t notice the fleet of yellow school buses out and about early in the morning and in the mid-afternoon last week, Glynn County Schools are back in session. Colleges will be following suit as well in the next few weeks.

While we are excited for another school year, the one downside to school starting is that it puts a dent in the workforce that helps protect our public beaches and pools.

Beachgoers probably noticed the lack of lifeguards by the empty red chairs. The good news is the lifeguards will be on duty on the weekends through Labor Day weekend.

Through Sept. 2, Glynn County’s beaches at the old Coast Guard station parking area and Massengale Park will not have stationed lifeguards on duty during weekdays. They will be at their stations from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends.

After Labor Day, there will be two weekends in September when lifeguards will be on sandbar patrol. On the weekend of Sept. 7-8, lifeguards will be out watching the sandbars from 1 to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday and from 2 to 6 p.m. on Sunday. The weekend of Sept. 21-22, lifeguards will be on patrol from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 12 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., respectively.

Pool hours have also changed. Neptune Park’s pool will be open weekends from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and from 1 to 5:30 p.m. on Sundays through Labor Day weekend. The pools will also be open on Labor Day itself from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Having lifeguards gives beachgoers a sense of security that if something were to happen, there is someone there to potentially save your life. It is always important to practice proper beach safety, but we encourage anyone planning to visit the beach during the weekday to be especially cautious.

Beachgoers need to be alert to the conditions.

Take notice of the color of the flag to gauge how treacherous the conditions are for that day. Remember that green means low hazards, yellow means medium hazards and red indicates very hazardous conditions. If you see two red flags, the beach is closed, and purple signals that marine life such as jellyfish are in the area.

If you plan to go into the ocean or walk out on a sandbar at low tide, be sure to keep a close watch on the tide coming back in. It can arrive faster and stronger than you realize and sweep even grown adults out to sea.

While we wish it were possible for lifeguards to be on duty throughout the summer, just to have that extra level of security, it’s just not possible once school starts. But if you remember to pay attention and stay alert, people will still be able to have a fun and safe trip to the beach.

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