Two beaches on the Cape Cod National Seashore will not have lifeguard protection this summer, and money isn’t the issue.
Speaking outside park headquarters in Wellfleet, National Seashore Superintendent Brian Carlstrom said Wednesday that Head of the Meadow Beach in Truro and Herring Cove Beach in Provincetown will be the ones to lose their lifeguards. They have a record of fewer rescues than the others.
The cut comes mainly because of the need for physical distancing in lifeguard housing.
“This was a very difficult decision, but we don’t have the physical space to accommodate our usual lifeguard workforce,” he said.
Nor do they have a sufficient applicant pool for the usual 48 positions.
“We had two very significant shark events a couple years ago,” he said. “There’s just a lot of information out there that I think a lot of our potential applicants are taking into account.”
Seasonal housing for lifeguards has been reduced by a third due to physical distancing, he said. Many National Seashore lifeguards are college swimmers who come for the summer and depend on that housing.
Lifeguards will staff the other four beaches starting the first week of July, about two weeks later than normal.
Skaket Beach to get Stop The Bleed kit
Newly retired Orleans Fire Chief Anthony Pike, now serving as the town’s beach safety director, joined staff from the National Seashore and officials from Wellfleet and Provincetown at an outdoor press conference.
Pike said recent shark activity off Skaket Beach has prompted the town to equip the beach on Cape Cod Bay with a “stop the bleed” first aid kit for the first time.
The town uses data from state shark scientist Greg Skomal and the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy.
“Skaket Beach will be scrutinized and re-strategized for protection this year due the amount of shark activity,” he said.
The town plans to review its strategy in the next few days.
Pike said evidence of two shark predations has been observed off Orleans in the past week.