By Theresa Stratford for The Island Connection
Beach erosion has presented a potential issue for beachgoers, but more importantly for Seabrook Island Beach Patrol.
Walking out on boardwalk No. 8 won’t get you to the beach anymore due to the water that comes right up the foot of the steps. Town Administrator Joe Cronin reported on the beach erosion occurring in the recent Seabrook Island Town Council Meeting on April 27.
“It could impact Beach Patrol’s ability to respond on the beach,” he noted.
He said that the area is fully washed out now, even at low tide. In the past, Cronin said that beach patrol could get around this point for the better part of the day. It was passable at low tide, but not anymore. Boardwalk No. 8 lies between the Atlantic side of the island and the Edisto side.
Now the beach in front of boardwalk No. 8 is completely under water at all times of the day. Cronin explained that at this time of year when they only have one vehicle to patrol from one end of the Beach Club to Pelican Watch, they will have to go back to boardwalk No. 1, go out the beach access, drive around to Camp St. Christopher and then back down the Pelican Watch side. “This is a ton of backtracking because they can’t pass that spot on the beach.”
Cronin revealed that this is impacting response times. “Say someone is in one location and something happens at the other location, the inability to get around that point on the beach does have an impact,” Cronin reported. He said he is not aware of any issues recently, but did want to bring up the potential for one in the future to Town Council.
He said that as they roll into the peak season, there will be two vehicles, instead of just one in the off-season, and four people at all times on beach patrol.
Mayor John Gregg asked if a water rescue would be hindered. Cronin said that the jet skis are parked at boardwalk No. 2, so water access would not be hindered, however, they could not drive to the other side of boardwalk No. 8 on the beach.
“It is a lot of backtracking to get around the point,” Cronin said.
He did not seem concerned once staffing level increases at peak season in just a few weeks.
Cronin encouraged Town Council to go out to boardwalk No. 8 and observe the issue.