Hampton Beach Lifeguards
Story and Photos by Virginia Hatch
Seacoast Scene, Wednesday, August 13, 2003
Celebrating People & Events Since 1975
giving the orders for the day.
The Hampton Lifeguards guard the beaches at: Plaice Cove, North Hampton State Beach, North Beach, Main Beach and Sun Valley (on the south side of the Hampton River) The Hampton Lifeguards are 34 full-time and 10 part time lifeguards.
Lauren Nuttall of Haverhill is in her second year
at the Massachusetts College of Art where she is
studying Illustration and Graphic Design.
Tom Begin is studying Political Science at
Northern Essex Community College where he is
in his second year.
According to Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary Third Edition, the definition of a lifeguard is "expert swimmer employed ... to safeguard other swimmers" ... Hampton Lifeguards are employed on the basis of their certification from the American Red Cross or the YMCA as having completed successfully a lifeguard course. This must be renewed every three years. A current CPR is required and must be renewed each year. In addition, a physical test must be passed which is administered at the University of New Hampshire pool and track. In the pool, the candidate for the position of Hampton Lifeguard must swim 500 yards freestyle for time under 10 minutes. On the track, the candidate must run one mile in under seven minutes. -- "under six minutes for those who want to land a job for that year," said Donahue. "Each year, the lifeguards come back to test again to make sure they're not out of shape."
The Hampton Lifeguards are 34 full-time and 10 part-time lifeguards. Their hours of work are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with one-half hour for lunch. No breaks. They are paid $9.01 per hour without additional benefits. They come from Haverhill, Lawrence, Hampton, Groveland and West Newbury.
"We never hired kids under 18. We wanted a more mature person -- then, we had a shortage. I have to come up with 40 lifeguards each year. I had to break my rules and lower the age. Several of the lifeguards are college swimmers. The majority are kids who like the water who are decent swimmers. Some are competitive swimmers. This year, our best swimmers are female: Paige Crinunin, who attends St. Bonaventure but is transferring to Clemson, and, Amy Gingras of Kingston, who is a scholarship swimmer at St. Bonaventure College. The best male swimmer is Roger Cook of South Hampton, who attends George Washington University and is an event swimmer for them," said Chief of Lifeguards James Donahue. "Those that come back year after year are mostly teachers. We have a couple of part-timers who work in sales who like to spend their weekends guarding."
Jeremy Schmidt of Rowley, Massachusetts, has
been a lifeguard for four years. He has a B.S.
degree in Atmospheric Science, or meteorology,
from the University of Rhode Island, Kingston,
Rhode Island. In the fall, he will return to Rhode
Island for an internship in a Providence television
station broadcasting the weather. He might also do
graduate work in meteorology. Stephen Ryan of
Haverhill has been a lifeguard for five years and is
a fireman with the Haverhill Fire Department.
"This has been a quiet summer with under 50 or 60 swimmers rescued. Twenty years ago, we had under 70 rescues for the whole summer. In 2001, with a lot of strong surf, we had a busy summer with 250 to 300 rescues," said Donahue. There has been only one drowning. A girl caught in the riptide with some children. The children were rescued. The girl washed ashore the next day. The only other fatality was a lifeguard, David Thomas, who was struck by lightning while on duty. A plaque honoring his memory is on the outside of the building which houses the lifeguard headquarters behind the State Park Patrol headquarters on the main beach.
Rules for using the beaches are posted. Essentially, no bottles, no alcoholic beverages, no dogs. "We're thinking of adding 'No Skim Boards.' They're dangerous given the number of bathers; and, it is possible to kick it out and lose control. It can give nasty bruises to the ankles if it hits them," said Donahue.
The roster of Hampton Lifeguards include:
Lifeguards-Administrative: James W. Donahue, Chief of Lifeguards; James F. DeLuca, Captain; Leland R. Brennan, Administrative Lieutenant; Chris P. Laganas, Lieutenant; and Alex M. Valhouli, Lieutenant. Full-time: Thomas Begin, Brian Bernard, Mary Boland, Bruce Butterworth, Patrick Casey, Roger Cook, Sarah Cowdrey, Darien Crimmin, Suzanne P. Crimmin, Stephanie Davis, Brent DeBay, David DiFilippo, Jennifer Dineen, Robert Farrell, Christopher Germain, Lisa Glebaucis, Sarah Hagen, First Aid; Colleen Goode, Zaki Jaber, Matt Kalil, Jason Kidde, Lauren Nuttall, Daniel Ryan, Jeremy Schmidt, Joseph Schults, Daniel Shanahan, Erin Shanahan, Charles Soper, and Amy Gingras/Ryan Gobeil. Part-time: Harrison Brown, Stephen Carroll, Brett Crimmin, Kevin Donahue, Michael Donahue, Erin Howe, Brian Joyce, Stephen Ryan, and Christopher Shields.
Chief of Lifeguards James W. Donahue and his wife,
Joni, are the parents of two sons, Kevin and Michael,
who are lifeguards. Joni teaches art at Marston School
What do the Hampton Lifeguards do when the season is over? The Hampton Lifeguards have a wide variety of interests and commitments. First Aid Attendant Sarah Hagen of Hampstead is a junior in nursing school at the University of New Hampshire. Stephen Ryan of Haverhill has been a lifeguard for five years and is a fireman with the Haverhill Fire Department. Brian Bernard of Manchester is a sophomore at the University of New Hampshire majoring in Justice Studies and Psychology. Bruce Butterworth is a teacher of Health and Physical Education for the elementary grades at Sanborn Regional District in Newton, New Hampshire. Jason Kidde of Durham is studying Exercise Science at the University of New Hampshire. David DiFilippo of Lawrence is a bartender at Charlie's Bar in Lawrence. Brent DeBay of Newton, New Hampshire, is a freshman at Maine Maritime Academy at Castine, Maine. Darien Crimmin of Haverhill is a graduate student at Tufts University where he studies environmental planning.Zaki Jaber of Haverhill is in his second year at Northern Essex Community College where he is studying Computer Networking. Lieutenant of Lifeguards Chris P. Laganas of Seabrook teaches Mathematics at Haverhill High School. Lauren Nuttall of Haverhill is in her second year at the Massachusetts College of Art where she is studying Illustration and Graphic Design. Tom Begin is studying Political Science at Northern Essex Community College where he is in his second year. Stephanie Davis of Natick, Massachusetts, is a senior at the University of New Hampshire where she is majoring in Finance. She is also a research assistant in that department. Erin Howe of Somerville is a kindergarten teacher and coach at St. Clemens in Somerville. Erin Shanahan of Haverhill is a teacher of English and History at Georgetown High School. Chief of Lifeguards James W. Donahue and his wife, Joni, are the parents of two sons, Kevin and Michael, who are lifeguards. Joni teaches art at Marston School in Hampton. Donahue has just retired from teaching science at Whittier Regional Technical School. Captain of Lifeguards James DeLuca of Haverhill is captain of the lifeguards. This is his 25th summer of lifeguarding at Hampton Beach. DeLuca is a science teacher at Shawsheen High School in Billerica, Massachusetts. Keeping an eye on the weather is an important part of providing safety for beachgoers. Jeremy Schmidt of Rowley, Massachusetts, has been a lifeguard for four years. He has a B.S. degree in Atmospheric Science, or meteorology, from the University of Rhode Island, Kingston, Rhode Island. In the fall, he will return to Rhode Island for an internship in a Providence television station broadcasting the weather. He might also do graduate work in meteorology. Colleen Goode of Tewksbury, Massachusetts, is going to be a freshman at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
In 1972, Hampton Lifeguards worked at the Penguin Plunge in January; but not since then.