Tybee leaders working to improve sandbar safety


TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WSAV) – Tybee Island officials say they are doing what they can to increase awareness and improve safety near the sandbars. This comes after three swimmers disappeared Sunday night. Two were located the other swimmer has not been located. Officials say it is now a recovery effort.

“I don’t know if we can ever fully resolved this situation but we can do all we can to make it safer,” Mayor Jason Buelterman says. “Some of the challenges we face is that sandbar shifts constantly.”

Many suggest more signage to warn people about the dangers and having lifeguards on staff year around and after six in the evening. But Buelterman says that’s not easy.

“It sounds like a simple issue to resolve. It’s not. if you have one person out there that person might get called to an emergency somewhere else so we have to figure out some redundancies to make sure that we can do all we can to provide for a safe environment out here.”

In August two men from the Atlanta area drowned at the sandbar. Since then they’ve implemented new strategies like clearing people from the area before high tide and speaking with the department of natural resources about more signage.

“We’ve talked about and actually tested this past winter the use of drones with rescue tubes on them and with speakers to warn them if lifeguards can’t get out there. That they need to get off that sandbar,” Buelterman says.

But Mayor Buelterman assures everyone they are working relentlessly to keep this from happening again.

“You know there’s going to be a way to resolve this and we’re going to continue to come up with ways to deal with it. we put in some new protocols after what happened last year but clearly, those protocols weren’t enough and we need to go more,” Buelterman said.

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