John Ryan Sr. had, when the summer began, wanted very much for the East Hampton Volunteer Ocean Rescue Squad to come to a meeting of the minds with the resorts along the Napeague strip, which are not required by the Suffolk County Health Department to post lifeguards if they prohibit ocean swimming.
Soon after a spectacular save in front of the Driftwood ocean resort just west of Hither Hills State Park in June, a save owing to the quick and effective initial response by a cabana boy, J.C. Barrientos, Ryan said Barrientos, who was not a certified lifeguard at the time, should not have been put in that position.
He added that while he didn’t want to adopt an adversarial stance, he was hopeful that the resorts and homeowners associations along the strip between Amagansett and Montauk could be persuaded to amplify measures that would further ensure the safety of workers and swimmers. “If you put up chairs and umbrellas on the beach, you can’t keep people out of the water even if there are signs that prohibit swimming,” Ryan said at the time.
“There’s still a risk — I’m disappointed the ocean rescue squad hasn’t done anything,” he said when questioned briefly following the East Hampton Volunteer Ocean Rescue Squad’s Gardiner’s Bay swims Saturday morning.
In a separate conversation, Ryan’s son, John Jr., who heads the lifeguards here, said he too regretted that there hadn’t been a parley with the ocean resort owners to date. “The summer’s just flown by.”
On the subject of saves, he said 30 or 40 swimmers had been pulled out of rip tides at Amagansett’s protected Atlantic Avenue Beach last week, and that on Aug. 4, also at Atlantic, the crew overseen by Ed Reid had saved the life of an elderly, semiconscious male. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation had been used, and, ultimately, a shock to the heart was applied with success in an ambulance on the way to Southampton Hospital.