No lifeguards at popular beach despite last year's drowning

No lifeguards at popular beach despite last year's drowning

SEABROOK, N.H. — Hundreds hit the beach in Seabrook, New Hampshire this Independence Day, but what the beach doesn't have is lifeguards, despite two people drowning last summer.

Some people Boston 25 News spoke with say they haven't seen this many people at the beach in years and that they're relying on each other to keep a lookout. That's making some nervous.

"I've been on Seabrook Beach since 1950 when I was a 2-year-old boy," said Anthony John Colletti Sr. "I have a grave concern about our children not being protected immediately if they get pulled off on a riptide, but what you gotta understand, I'm from the old school. I've been here without lifeguards for over five decades."

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Residents voted against funding lifeguards at Seabrook Beach in February, despite two drownings last summer. In August, strong rip current swept six people into the ocean. Beachgoers rushed in to help but Michael and Laura Cote of Methuen died.

"It'd be nice to have lifeguards, but we actually police a lot of our own," said Joe Santoro.

Lots of families like the Santoros say most people know how to keep themselves safe.

"We all watch out for each other. It's really, really good," he said.

Town selectmen have said hiring lifeguards could result in lawsuits and would be too costly for taxpayers.

Mike Ferrick says Seabrook is a town divided in their views. Those residents that live on the beach full and part-time, and those who live farther into town are often at odds.

"Absolutely we'd like to have lifeguards here, especially for the kids and so forth, you know? The danger. The danger of downings," said Ferrick.

Across the line in Hampton, there are lifeguards and residents say there's an unofficial agreement they'll help watch the water where they can.