Each day presents
a different set of
ordinances and an
— one of many
reasons he has yet
to tire of his job.
Shannon Slocum patrols north of Johnnie Mercer’s Pier Memorial Day 2013, and at lifeguard stand 12 just south of Crystal Pier November 2014.
sundown come summer.
“You deal with A-to-Z, you never really know where people are at,”
he says. “During summer months, a lot of people are out here because
they think it’s Disneyland and sometimes you have to bring them back
and reel them in one way or another.”
Between littering, alcohol enforcement and plain manners, Slocum
describes his definition of beach etiquette. If you wouldn’t do it in
your own backyard, why would you do it on Wrightsville Beach?
“Some things just aren’t right. I can’t have you leaving a mound of
beer cans, or throwing bottles in the ocean, or your vehicle out here,”
he says. “There’s no kumbaya fires, I can’t have you walk on the beach
throwing your trash down.”
It’s not even 600 yards away when Shannon stops again. This time,
for a dog without a leash. Dogs are allowed on the beach October
through March, but must be leashed. While many trust their pets to
roam freely, the ordinance is in place for multiple reasons — to pro-tect
birds, he says, and so children and the elderly can walk along the
beach without getting spooked, falling and hurting themselves at the
site of a dog running toward them.
“Make sure the lady is on a leash,” he tells the owner.
She nods and leashes her dog. They exchange a friendly wave,
and Slocum moves on. Beach patrol is a key part of his job. And
regulars like to stop him for a chat. What normally takes four hours
in the shoulder seasons can leave him on the beach from sunup to
WBM FILE PHOTO WBM FILE PHOTO