Water safety first

Hampton Beach hosts annual safety event

There may be no safer day to be at Hampton Beach than Thursday, July 26, as the sandy coast behind the Seashell Complex will be lined with experts dedicated to educating and interacting with the public for the third annual Water Safety Day, happening from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“It’s a day to promote water safety, not only in the ocean but any time someone goes to the water, to a lake, to a river, a pool, we’re here to help people bring their knowledge up about how to be safe and how to have fun and enjoy water and water activities,” said Patrick Murphy, deputy chief of New Hampshire State Beach Patrol.

Along with the State Beach Patrol, Murphy and his team will be joined by the Hampton Police Department, Hampton Fire Department, New Hampshire State Marine Patrol, New Hampshire Fish and Game, the U.S. Coast Guard, Marine Mammal Rescue, local surf company Cinnamon Rainbows and the Blue Ocean Society.

Tables will be set up along the beach throughout the day by each of the participating departments, which will answer questions about safety as well as their organizations and what they do.

“You could be someone who just wants to learn more about what the New Hampshire State Beach Patrol does or the Coast Guard, the Marine Patrol, and that’s how we built it,” said Murphy.

Though the event is meant for everyone, the kids are the main focus point of the day.
“Instead of being the lifeguards that are out there sitting on the chair, jumping in the water, making rescues, we wanted to do more,” said Murphy. “We wanted to do everything we could to help people. We knew that a great way to do this would be to get the kids involved. We wanted to help build a community of safety-conscious individuals who know what to do.”

Demonstrations focused around water education will be scattered throughout the day. The lifeguards will be putting on a variety of rescue demonstrations including a torp rescue, a jet ski rescue, and a rescue reel demonstration that involves a lifeguard swimming out to a mock victim and having the kids reel the duo back to shore. Cinnamon Rainbows Surf Co. will be demonstrating proper boogie boarding techniques, while the Hampton Fire Department will be providing other rescue demonstrations.

Educational games will be held along the beach by the various safety crews attending Water Safety Day this summer. The Hampton Beach lifeguards will host a children’s version of a beach musical chairs tournament with kids starting on their stomach and racing to grab a flag. A tennis ball rescue game will be held to help teach kids what a day in the life of a lifeguard is like.

“It’s just a day to really promote water safety and a way for us to help everybody be better-prepared for any situation that might come to them,” said Murphy.
Water Safety Day began three years ago when Murphy and New Hampshire State Beach Patrol Captain Jeff Kelley came up with the idea to bring the community together in an attempt to raise the water education level in a town that is so driven by the ocean.

“We really wanted to work on helping the community. … There’s a lot to do at Hampton Beach but there’s not a lot to do that’s interacting with the lifeguards,” Murphy said. “We wanted to get more kids involved to help build a community of safety-conscious individuals who know what to do.”
He said one of the goals this year is to be even more interactive with the public, because the interactions over the past couple of years have been highly positive.

“You get all these kids really excited, they’re having fun, they’re hanging out with the lifeguards for the day,” Murphy said. “We really want people to be excited. We’re really excited. It’s a great day, it’s a great event and we just want people to come and enjoy it as much as possible.”
— Andrew Clay

*Featured photo courtesy of Deputy Chief of New Hampshire State Beach Patrol, Jeff Kelley.

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