Citizens and visitors are being advised to stay away from the beach when the island is under a tropical storm watch or warning.
The caution was reiterated as the island expected adverse weather from Tropical Storm Kirk which was forecast to pass the island today.
Yellow flags were in place along some sections of the shoreline, indicating to beachgoers that they should exercise caution due to risky swimming conditions.
When a Barbados TODAY team visited the popular Brandon’s Beach where about two dozen people were relaxing on the sand or swimming, lifeguards provided an additional warning.
Veteran Lifeguard Michael Gilkes told Barbados TODAY he had to keep people aware that the island was expecting a tropical storm.
“We have choppy conditions and it could get worse. So we just want people to adhere to the flags and adhere to the warnings of the lifeguards,” he said, pointing out that every time a lifeguard had to go out to save a life it was mentally and physically taxing.
“We just want people to know that we want them to be safe, and our job is to prevent anything from happening. We want tourists to be safe and locals.”
He said people generally stayed away from the beach today because of the impending bad weather, and that was evident by the number of beachgoers in the morning.
Pointing out that lifeguards worked as a team, Gilkes, who has been in the profession for 27 years, said it was important that whenever people visited the beach they asked questions if they were unsure where it was safe to swim.
A handful of people were spotted at the popular ‘hot pot’ location. Although they did not speak to Barbados TODAY, they were more than happy to have their picture taken.
Another lifeguard said he too had to warn a number of people who visited some west coast beaches this morning, adding that some of them left after learning that the conditions were not the best for swimming.
He said that although warning flags were up and lifeguards also issued cautions, some adventurous beachgoers would still occasionally go into the sea.
“Sometimes you get the odd one that ventures out and they underestimate the sea, so we have to warn them. Our job is one of prevention – 80 per cent prevention and 10 per cent intervention. We are about saving lives at the end of the day. When you put yourself at risk and we have to go and save you, we also put our lives at risk too,” he pointed out.
Weather forecasters say the island will continue to be affected by Tropical Strom Kirk, with occasional higher gusts expected across the island into tonight.