New technology implemented at beaches in Manatee County

New technology implemented at beaches in Manatee County
A new device helping lifeguards and beach goers safe from a lightning strike. (Source: wwsb)

BRADENTON BEACH, Fla. (WWSB) - New technology has been implemented at Manatee County beaches bringing more safety for lifeguards and beach goers.

Last year 11 lifeguard stands were approved by commissioners. They have since been implemented. The Manatee County Beach Patrol Chief says the lifeguard towers have new technology within the flag poles that keep lightning strikes away from the tower and within a circumference.

“We have been able to go down and clear the beach without having to fear with getting struck,” said lifeguard Chelsea Campos.

The beach patrol chief tells ABC7 that so far the data shows no strikes have been made near a tower or within the circumference.

“20 meters circumference and then there’s 120 on our larger towers which is about 250 feet of protection that protects around this existing tower,” said Beach Patrol Chief, Joe Westerman.

Campos is one of several lifeguards who patrols the beaches in Manatee County and she says she feels safer with the new technology.

“Beach-goers should definitely feel more safe with the technology there,” said Campos.

But it’s not something they’re full relying on.

“We’re still relying on, when the thunder roars, go indoors,” said Westerman.

Because although it gives an extra layer of protection to some areas it’s not protecting the entire beach.

“That’s a big beach so there’s still a lot of area that can get struck by lightning,” said Westerman.

So beach-goers will still get asked to leave when storms are nearing.

“We let you guys know beforehand. So you can safely get off the beach before the storm comes,” said Campos.

A PA system is another gadget being launched in Manatee County beaches to help spread messages of safety to beach goers for situations like dangerous rip currents, missing children, or a storm approaching.

The installment of the PA system will be done in two weeks.

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