• Dredging project draws safety concerns in Jacksonville Beach

    By: Erica Bennett, Action News Jax


    JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. - A month into the beaches-nourishment project in Jacksonville Beach and surrounding areas, lifeguards say they’re concerned about the safety issues.

    “We’ve had several people hurt, had to be taken to the hospital by rescue. Scraped up. Bruised up,” said Captain Rob Emahiser with Jacksonville Beach Ocean Rescue.

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    It’s a project that shouldn't be ignored. The two-mile-long dredging pipe protrudes out of the ocean and onto the sand for several feet. There are safeguards in place to keep people away, but some beachgoers don’t seem to care. Others are steering clear.

    “I know better. You can get hurt on that. It’s a lot of rust,” beachgoer Ivory Wheeler said.

    There are also a lot of barnacles and sea shells. Jacksonville Beach Ocean Rescue tries to help from above on its watch tower by looking for climbers.

    “It’s not where you want to be and you want to keep your kids away from it. You definitely don’t want to climb on it or lean on it,” Emahiser said.

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    Swimmers are also at risk. Ocean Rescue said those who are caught in a current don’t see the part of the pipe that’s underwater and can slam into it. With all the damage from Hurricane Matthew, the beach nourishment is a must so the dunes can be built back up to protect the shoreline. The hope is that we learn to live with it.

    “You always go to think safety first. I mean, that’s the most important thing,” Wheeler said.

    Atlantic and Neptune beaches are also part of this nourishment project. 

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