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Bathtub Beach closes as heavy surf, erosion creates dangers for beachgoers

Posted on October 26, 2022

County officials closed Bathtub Beach indefinitely Monday.

High tides and heavy surf barraged Bathtub Beach and caused significant changes to the shoreline, according to a county news release.

The parking lot gates are closed and the beach will not have lifeguards during its closure, said Martha Ann Kneiss, county spokesperson.

But people have trespassed in the past, she said.

“I think people go on the beaches when they want whether they are open or closed.” Kneiss said. “That’s been our experience.”

The waves and tides, however, are dangerous.

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“The danger is the wave action coming very close, like high wave action close to where you would walk,” Kneiss said. “It’s not like a wide expanse of a beach, so you’d be up against (an escarpment).”

The escarpment, a steep slope formed at the edge of the beach, is an unstable bank of sand to walk on as waves come in, Kneiss said.

Kneiss said some of the beach eroded after Hurricane Ian and king tides during mid-September.

Workers removed lifeguard towers from the beach, Kneiss said.

“What happens is the beach erodes up to or very near where the towers are,” Kneiss said. “So we pull the towers back because that would be a huge safety hazard.

The beach is a natural barrier for the roads behind it on Hutchinson Island, but waves exacerbated by hurricanes, tropical storms and nor’easters have eaten away at the island’s southern tip.

Bathtub Beach has been the site of several renourishment projects to restore the coastline. In 2021, crews moved 220,000 cubic yards of sand to designated areas of the beach.

Kneiss said there has been no renourishment planned as of Monday, and officials have no estimate on when the beach would reopen.

“We really just close it to protect our residents and beachgoers. All other beaches are open,” Kneiss said.



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