More safety measures are on the way for one of Baldwin County’s most popular beaches.
Another lifeguard stand has been added at Cotton Bayou in Orange Beach and additional crews coming to keep the growing beach crowds protected this summer.
The sugar white sands of Baldwin County’s beaches keep drawing record crowds every year, and 2019 is expected to be no exception.
James Kariuki brought his 3 young daughters from Texas to the enjoy the Alabama coast for the first time.
“The more the better. We have a lot of kids and the parents want to relax and want to make sure everyone safe” said Kariuki, “Every time I see them going near the water I have to run to make sure they’re safe and so they don’t go too far. So with the lifeguards it’s a very good idea.”
Brett Lesinger, Beach Safety Chief for the city of Orange Beach, said this also marks the first time the city has had more than 1 stand on any of their public beaches.
There’s good reason for it.
Cotton Bayou increased in popularity in 2018, leading to more EMS and beach rescue calls.
“We look at those stats and we take it to heart. Wherever our most calls are, that’s where we’re gonna add extra staffing, that’s where we’re gonna add more towers,” Lesinger said.
The city currently has 16 lifeguards on staff, but Lesinger said that will increase to 22 by Memorial Day.
Other beachgoers say they also feel better about an added lifeguard presence.
“I went out there and the waves are pretty rough so I think more lifeguards are good idea. I do feel safer,” said Haley Smith, who traveled from Mississippi for Spring Break
Officials said the Orange Beach fire department and beach safety department could grow even more in the future.
Orange Beach is currently hiring lifeguards to fill empty spots. Applications are up on the city’s website.