Beach Services, Challenges and Clean up
May 10, 2021
Beach Shore Services (BSS), a private company was founded in 1974. The current owners have owned the business since 1992. Mike and the General Manager, Alan Reese are two of the most knowledgeable people about beaches on the island, often getting called as resources for beach information (e.g. ordinances).
BSS has a service agreement with the Town of HHI and are responsible for beach matting, doggie bags, trash and the beach patrol. They also have a franchise agreement for rentals of umbrellas and chairs. The revenue from the rentals funds 95% of the company’s business.
The company is certified by the US Lifesaving Association and provides 80-90 lifeguards for the beaches annually. The lifeguards are an international group with most from outside of the US. Many are college swimmers on scholarships who speak English well. (In the past many of the guards were on J-1 visas.) Lifeguards begin the season in late March (usually 15-20 on duty at the beginning) and work through late October with the largest number beginning in May and leaving at the end of August. During high season there are 70 guards on the beach at any time with the rest on breaks or having a day off. The Town’s contract requires lifeguards from April 1st – September 30th. The lifeguard test includes swimming 550 yards (1/3 mile) in 10 minutes. May is the busiest month for the company since most of the staff is hired and trained during that month.
BSS also provides 10 trucks (ATV’s) and PWC’s (personal watercraft or jet ski) for water rescue.
Two employees drive through the beaches and pick up the trash each day. The lifeguards begin their day by doing this too. Trash is a growing problem, though not that there is so much junk on the beach, but rather the cans are filled quickly and large pieces such as broken umbrellas, chairs, and canopies are heavy and difficult to dispose of. In the month of July 2020, the following were picked up on the beach:
In addition, there were over 10,000 instances of advice on ordinances, although there were likely many more, on the subjects of alcohol, trash, holes in the ground, and other issues. There are also many lost people including both kids and adults (especially on busy days) with 610 lost people reported in July 2020. Medical emergencies also occur including (in July 2020):