In contrast with the Fourth of July, Wrightsville Beach Ocean Rescue director Dave Baker said this Labor Day weekend was fairly benign for his lifeguard crew.
Around noon on Monday, Sept. 2, Baker said the biggest issues the WBOR had seen were multiple cases of stingray stings on both Saturday and Sunday with around five to six each day and at least one reported on Monday.
“All you do is control the bleeding, tell them to put it in as hot of water as they can stand for 30 minutes, keep a watchful eye for infection and take Tylenol for pain if you need it,” Baker said. “No one has really been in a situation where they had to be transported [to the hospital] or anything.”
Baker said it was impossible to determine why there had been an increase in stingray stings this weekend but that the holiday crowd size and minimal wave action were contributors.
“They come in spurts; it is a denser beach population than normal and with less wave action they are bottom feeders and sit in the still water in the troughs,” Baker said.
Shuffling while in the water instead of picking up your feet to walk is a good way to avoid stepping on a stingray and prompting the creature to sting, Baker said.
Following Labor Day weekend roving ocean rescue patrols will continue until the end of September when only four stands will be manned: south of the Crystal Pier, at Stone Street, south of Johnnie Mercer’s Pier and in front of the Holiday Inn Resort.
United States Coast Guard Station Wrightsville Beach Executive Petty Officer Joe Baxter also said the weekend was tame despite the large amount of boat traffic on the water. Only three incidents were reported, including a minor boat fire north of the Causeway Drive bridge, but no one was injured.
Now that the height of boating season is over Baxter said the USCG would be transitioning to more training than patrols and that the entire crew has almost received the required training on the station’s new 45-foot Response Boat-Medium it received in June.
From Friday, Aug. 30, to Sunday, Sept. 2, the Wrightsville Beach Police Department made three arrests, and issued 16 citations and 65 civil penalties.