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Aug 1, 2018 10:56 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Lifeguards Make A Save In Southampton Village

Southampton Bathing Corp lifeguards Nick Bontempo, left, and Brendan Carty, right, took part in the ocean rescue last week that saved a swimmer caught in a rip current at Cryder Beach.  COURTESY BRENDAN CARTY
Aug 1, 2018 12:14 PM

Ever since he was a child, Brendan Carty knew he wanted to be a lifeguard. A self-proclaimed “water rat,” the 21-year-old Westchester County native spent his summers in Southampton, and was always fascinated with the idea of sitting on top of the lifeguard stand, surveying the ocean and protecting beachgoers from the hazards of the water.

Now in his third summer of lifeguarding, Mr. Carty, a senior at Villanova University, experienced what he called the most dramatic save of his career just last week.

He and other lifeguards at the Southampton Bathing Corporation—Nick Bontempo, 19, a Southampton High School graduate, and Grace Middlekauff, 16, a Southampton High School junior—as well as Coopers Beach lifeguards Mike Purcell, 53, David Nichols, 48, and Patrick Maloney, 18, worked together to save a distressed swimmer stuck in a rip current at Cryder Beach in Southampton Village in the early afternoon of July 23.

Cryder Beach is located a short distance west of the Bathing Corp. and more than a half mile east of Coopers Beach. Lifeguards are stationed during the summer at the Bathing Corp. beach and at Coopers Beach, but Cryder Beach, located in between the two, is marked with signs as unguarded.

Mr. Carty recalled the day as uneventful leading up to the save. He said the beach was almost empty, as it often is on weekdays, and that swimming conditions were hazardous.

“It was a really quiet day,” he said. “These things tend to happen when you least expect it.”

Mr. Carty said that the distressed swimmer, who was swimming more than 300 yards away from his post, was brought to his attention by two young boys who approached him saying that someone was in trouble.

Mr. Carty and fellow Bathing Corp. lifeguards went to assess the scene when they were flagged down by a woman, the girlfriend of the man who was stuck in the current and barely visible from shore. The woman had been caught in the current earlier and was able to get to shore herself, and Mr. Carty said it was pure luck that the two boys were there to go search for help.

“We saw a little dot bobbing up and down in the white water,” he recalled. “Our team executed what we are trained to do every day. We’re just lucky we got there when we did.”

The victim was in the water no longer than five minutes, according to Mr. Carty, but had ingested a lot of water and was visibly disoriented upon being brought to shore.

The rescue was accomplished in just minutes in what Mr. Carty called a “standard torp rescue,” when one or two lifeguards swim out to stabilize the swimmer on a torpedo-shaped buoy while other lifeguards pull the swimmer to shore with the lifeline attached to the buoy.

“Once we got there, we all knew that we didn’t have much time,” he said. “We had one shot and we had to make it count.”

Though the Southampton Fire Department and the Southampton Village Volunteer Ambulance came quickly to the scene, the victim was not in need of further medical assistance.

Mr. Carty said that, luckily, saves like this are not common on East End beaches. He could recall only one other save during his three-summer career as a lifeguard, when a woman was stuck in a rip current, though this was not as serious as last week’s situation, he said, as the lifeguards on duty had eyes on her the entire time, and sprang into action the moment they saw her in distress.

Mr. Carty began his lifeguarding career working at beaches for the Town of Southampton before taking a job at the Bathing Corp., a private beach club on Gin Lane in Southampton Village.

He emphasized the importance of swimming in designated lifeguard-supervised areas, even for strong swimmers.

“Almost everyone out here can swim well,” he said. “But the second you think you can handle anything the ocean can throw at you, you’ll be in for a rude surprise. You’ve gotta respect the ocean.”

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Well done to the entire crew. You used your training and pulled together when it really counted. The water needs to be taken seriously and respected, as do you all. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
By SPCarr (17), Southampton on Aug 1, 18 11:49 AM
Well done and thank you for keeping ocean swimmers safe. And to the general public: PLEASE swim at guarded beaches only!!
By sandydog21 (194), Southampton on Aug 2, 18 7:54 AM
most public beaches are unguarded so....
By BrianWilliams (59), on Aug 2, 18 9:15 PM
Well done by life guards.
By knitter (1537), Southampton on Aug 2, 18 9:55 AM
We are all so proud of you! Great save - and good collaboration across lifesavers at Bathing Corp. and Coopers Beach. The world is still a good place.

By Liftup88 (4), Southampton on Aug 2, 18 1:20 PM
Good job and many thanks to these lifeguards. As a 59 year old with chronic health problems it's important 2 consult with the lifeguards before entering the water even if you have checked the surf report before heading to the beach. They will let you know of dangerous conditions and you can adjust where you enter the water keep yourself within the protected area while you're playing. For instance if they tell me there's a moderate east2west rip, I'll enter the water at the extreme East portion of ...more
By oneseriousSicilian (52), medford on Aug 3, 18 7:51 AM
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