Ocean rescue calling all watermen


Through tests of swimming, running and rescuing, Wrightsville Beach Ocean Rescue will find the roughly 30 members of its 2014 squad.

The tryouts are set for Sunday, April 27, and Sunday, May 4, each beginning at 8:30 a.m. on the south side of Crystal Pier.

Ocean rescue director Dave Baker said the ideal candidate for the squad has a mix of athleticism and professionalism.

“The ideal candidate is a confident male or female waterman; someone that brings maturity, someone that understands the responsibility that is placed on them, and also to realize they are the ambassadors of the beach and the town of Wrightsville Beach,” Baker said. “So we are looking for a package.”

The tryout course will consist of a one-half-mile ocean swim, one-mile soft sand run and two simulated rescues with one active victim and one passive victim. Anyone who completes all of the tasks will have the chance to interview for the squad.

“If you make it through, we definitely recognize that this is a difficult tryout … and that you deserve an interview,” Baker said. “A lot of individuals look at it as an easy summer job but those individuals that make the team understand the responsibilities and show up fit and ready to learn.”

This year Baker said he is excited by the caliber of athletes and public safety personnel who have registered so far.

“We are getting more and more collegiate swimmers and this year we will have some guys who are water polo players,” he said. “We are also getting more people that are already part of an emergency service organization like the local fire departments.”

With those increasing numbers of experienced public safety professionals trying out, Baker said the number of lifeguards on the final squad who are EMT certified could be much higher.

“It used to be where we would have four EMTs on the squad, but this year it could be around half the squad,” Baker said.

Once on the squad, a lifeguard can expect to work 46-hour weeks with starting pay ranging from $9.75-$10.25 an hour. The pay range increases if lifeguards are EMT certified.

Candidates can attend both tryout dates if they attend the first and feel they could do better the second time.

Due to the impending Coastal Storm Damage Reduction project that will renourish Wrightsville’s beach strand, Baker said the tryouts might have to be relocated if the work is going on around Crystal Pier. The backup location would be in front of the L-shaped lot at Public Access No. 4. Candidates will be notified if the tryout location changes.

Visit www.townofwrightsvillebeach.com for an application or more information.

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