2007-08-02 / News

Meet the lifeguards at Mackerel Cove beach

By Sam Bari

Lifeguards Mariah Vietri, Alex Harall, and Samantha Alger are keeping everyone safe on the beach at Mackerel Cove this summer. Photo by Sam Bari Lifeguards Mariah Vietri, Alex Harall, and Samantha Alger are keeping everyone safe on the beach at Mackerel Cove this summer. Photo by Sam Bari The Mackerel Cove Town Beach has long attracted residents and visitors for swimming, sunning and relaxation. Every year the parks and recreation department that supervises and maintains the area is inundated with applications for jobs as lifeguards. Applicants are screened and interviewed and the best of the best are chosen for the coveted positions. This year three of the guards are returning to service from last year's staff and three new guards were hired. Two of the first year guards are from Jamestown.

Kyle Halavik, 20, of Saunderstown, is a four-year veteran of the town beach staff, and this is his second year as head lifeguard. Halavik is Red Cross certified and spends the off-season as a student at the University of Rhode Island, where he is a junior majoring in exercise science.

Jamestown resident Mariah Vietri, 19, lives at Top O' the Mark, and is spending her second summer at Mackerel Cove. Vietri is a YMCA certified lifeguard and during the off-season she is a sophomore at Roanoke College in Virginia. Vietri thinks being a lifeguard is "the best job in the world because it's outside in the fresh air and plays an important role in keeping people safe while they're having fun," she said.

Samantha Alger, 20, of North Kingstown is also a second year lifeguard at the cove. She is YMCA certified and is in her junior year at URI, where she is a general business major with a Spanish minor. Alger says that being a lifeguard is a respectable job that takes lots of training and hard work to qualify for the serious and responsible position.

Jamestowner Ben Schmidt, 16, is the youngest of the new lifeguards. He is YMCA trained and certified and says he is enjoying his first summer on the job. Schmidt is a junior at North Kingston High School during the off-season.

Brian Klochkoff, 18, resides in Jamestown and is a Red Cross trained and certified lifeguard. He is a freshman in pre-law at Fordham University in New York during the off-season.

Alex Harrall, 19, lives in North Kingstown and is a Red Cross trained and certified lifeguard. He is a sophomore at Boston University, where he is majoring in history and business. Harrall likes spending the summer outdoors doing a job he enjoys.

Head lifeguard Halavik said that the job is easy if everybody just follows the rules, "and most of the time they do," he said. The lifeguards encourage visitors to read the rules, which are posted, and to feel free to ask questions if there is anything they don't understand.

"The worst offenders are the kayakers," Halavik said. The other lifeguards agreed. "For some reason, they think they can use the beach on their own terms, and the rules don't apply to them," he said. Kayaks are only allowed to launch from the Dutch Harbor side of the road. "Other than that, beach visitors are usually cooperative and friendly," he said.

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