Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Latest News Re. Lifeguards

Many of our readers have heard that the Park Service had made a decision to de-fund lifeguards in 2014. As a result of intense lobbying by Ocracoke Island residents and visitors, the Superintendent of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore has agreed to re-instate lifeguards on our beach. But islanders are as puzzled as they are delighted.

The decision is not exactly what Ocracokers were expecting. Because of budget cuts, the NPS is unable to fund conventional lifeguards. However, new technology will allow the Park to use UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles, aka "drones"). Drones have already been tested in Iran, and have been employed successfully as airborne lifeguards, locating distressed swimmers using thermal cameras and dropping life preservers to swimmers.

The good news is that drones are not only less expensive than human lifeguards, but they can be employed for longer periods and can patrol larger areas. Visiting teenagers will surely be less enthusiastic with the decision, however!

Click on the photo below (or on this link: http://rtsideas.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=7:pars-test-at-caspian-sea&Itemid=468&lang=en) to read more about the Iranian company that developed the battery powered drone lifeguards.

Drone Lifeguard on the Caspian Sea

For more information about the use of drones in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, please click here.  


  1. Debbie Leonard5:52 AM

    Happy April Fools Day to you too!

  2. Julie S8:00 AM

    I can't stand it but you got me!

  3. Bear MacDonald8:58 AM

    I've been looking forward to today to see what you would come up with. You never cease to amaze me!
    Thanks Philip.

  4. Anonymous9:38 AM


  5. Anonymous10:03 AM

    I don't mean to be a stick in the mud, but this is a very critical subject, one not meant for jest. Why would it be foolish to think that this is indeed a viable solution to the problem. A Libertarian would think the government has no role in saving someone that doe not know how to swim but chooses to go into the rough seas. Why is it foolish to board a boat without life jackets. Why is it foolish to get in a car and choose not to use seat belts. Why is it foolish to text and swim ? And why would visiting teenagers be worried about a drone seeing them ? All one has to do is follow them on face book or read their tweets... wait do you think they make stuff up and put it on face book or lie when they tweet....

  6. Anonymous10:54 AM

    Haha, good one Philip.
    Forgot it was Apr.fools and the government has done things that are far more ridiculous.

  7. debbie s.11:48 AM


  8. Sundae12:28 PM

    NPS is pursuing the possibility of contracting for lifeguards. The contract will go out for bids this week or next, then they will wait to see what happens. They anticipate funding 5 days of lifeguards and asking Ocracoke for 10K to pay for two more days.
    This was a decision made locally by the Cape Hatteras National Seashore superintendent. Most of us on Ocracoke believe that NPS can and should pay fund the lifeguards. Ocracoke Civic and Business Association started an online petition to keep pressure on Supt. Trimble and encourage him to do the right thing: http://www.change.org/petitions/save-our-lifeguards-put-lifeguards-back-on-our-beaches

    Thanks to Philip for keeping the lifeguard issue in the news!

  9. Anonymous3:14 PM

    A more "believable" April Fool's Day post was the initial announcement of Trimble's decision--too ridiculous to be true.

    Appreciate your efforts to gin up this tale, though, Philip. Look forward to it every year--as always.

  10. Anonymous4:18 PM

    I've waiting to see what your April Fool's Day posting would be & you never disappoint. also glad to see Sundae's comment about funding for lifeguards this summer
    looking forward to our week there in June for Donald Davis' storytelling workshop
    Sherrill Page

  11. Anonymous9:13 AM

    Got me!

  12. Anonymous10:12 PM

    Philip, you never cease to amaze NC Mainlander!!!! I was on guard (no pun intended) but I slipped up & you got me big time.