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Heat: Landes beach lifeguards play extra time

A peak announced at 29/30 degrees this Thursday, water at 19 degrees: even the regulars of the beaches of Capbreton and Hossegor admit their surprise in this first week of the All Saints holidays.

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Heat: Landes beach lifeguards play extra time

A peak announced at 29/30 degrees this Thursday, water at 19 degrees: even the regulars of the beaches of Capbreton and Hossegor admit their surprise in this first week of the All Saints holidays.

"I come regularly at this time of year without necessarily swimming, but there it is particularly hot", says Christophe, an engineer, who has come to enjoy the good weather in his second home.

"We come in the spring or in August but never at that time," says Cathy, a technician, encouraged by the summer temperatures to take the road from Toulouse.

This influx of holidaymakers has prompted several Landes seaside resorts to extend the surveillance of their beaches until Sunday, the day of the transition to winter time.

"We were forced to adapt because there are a lot of people, especially families", notes Louis Galdos, first deputy mayor of Capbreton, in charge in particular of the beaches.

In this resort, as in its neighbor Hossegor, lifeguards monitor the central beach every day from midday to 7 p.m. and regularly patrol the other beaches.

- Compulsory and expensive -

Such a system represents a significant cost for the town halls, which assume this responsibility alone. “It is not neutral for the budget of the municipalities, it is a strong commitment on their part!”, explains Julien Lalanne, responsible for monitoring the beaches in Hossegor.

An additional week of complete surveillance is around 5,000 euros, according to the two municipalities.

Despite this cost, a “reflection is underway to find out if we keep the system in place for the second week of the school holidays according to the expected weather forecasts”, underlines Julien Lalanne, also a lifeguard.

The Landes coast can indeed be dangerous, especially for children and the elderly, due to the presence of baïnes, these currents which are created around the sandbanks, and the force of certain waves which break at the edge of the beach ("shorebreaks" or edge rolls).

Since the beginning of the school holidays, the lifeguards of the central beach of Capbreton "carry out at least three interventions per day", indicates Jérôme Abadia, director of the pole associations, youth, sports and beaches of the commune.

- Year-round monitoring? -

For Corinne Labarbe, nurse, installed under an umbrella with her two children, this surveillance is "reassuring".

The municipalities are considering making it permanent over an increasingly extended period due to the rise in temperatures.

"This will force us to rethink our systems which were focused on the summer", recognizes Mr. Lalanne. He believes, however, that the resorts have already "made a big step" during the mid-season periods "by implementing this hybrid and flexible system with patrols during the week and surveillance on weekends or during school holidays" .

Since 2019, "we have been adapting to climatic conditions for around seven months", from Easter holidays to those of All Saints' Day, confirms Mr. Galdos, who even thinks that in the future "we will certainly monitor the beaches at 'year".

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