By Catherine Roberts — The Weekly News
Sunny skies and warm weather have finally arrived - time to pack a bag and head to the beach. Luckily, there're a great many beaches within HRM, so you shouldn't have to travel very far to get to one near you.
On the provincial side, the Nova Scotia Lifeguard Service (NSLS) has been keeping Nova Scotia's provincial beaches safe for almost 40 years. Here's the low down on our local scene. Unless otherwise noted, the Nova Scotia Lifeguard Service will have lifeguards on duty from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily during the swimming season.
Rainbow Haven Beach Park became a part of the Nova Scotia Lifeguard Service in 1988. Swimmers are advised to stay away from the tidal channel due to strong currents that develop. Beach conditions are recorded daily by lifeguard staff. The lifeguards also post hazard signs in front of areas that are unsafe for swimmers. Rainbow Haven Beach is located 8km east of Cow Bay. The beach may be reached by turning onto Bissett Road from Portland Street in Cole Harbor. The Provincial Park entrance is the next right after turning left at the end of Bissett Road.
Lawrencetown beach has been with the NSLS since the lifeguarding program was initiated. Lawrencetown's rough conditions can create many currents and rips which can be dangerous. Beach conditions are recorded daily by lifeguard staff. Lifeguards at Lawrencetown will encourage swimmers to stay between the flags and to keep the surfers and body-boarders out of the supervised area. Lawrencetown Beach lies 23km east of Dartmouth on route number 207.
Clam Harbour is a natural sand beach located on Nova Scotia's rugged eastern shore. The NSLS began supervision of Clam Harbour in 1978. Due to declining populations, supervision of Clam Harbour was reduced to weekends only in 1991. The beach continues to draw large populations on weekends.
Clam Harbour is generally a very safe beach. The supervised swimming area is marked by two red and yellow flags. This area is usually located in front of the lifeguard hut but may change according to surf conditions and the position of the channel. Clam Harbour is supervised by two lifeguards on weekends only. Clam Harbour Beach Park is located 84 kilometres east of Dartmouth off of Route 7.
Dollar Lake beach is a natural, sandy beach lying at the northernmost end of Dollar Lake. It was make accessible to the public in 1981. In 1996, the Nova Scotia Lifeguard Service began supervision of this site. Dollar Lake's facilities include three camping loops, a boat launch, forest trails, a canteen, picnic areas, washrooms and change houses.
The lifeguards enforce a no diving rule at all times. They also advise patrons not to shoulder dive or swim outside of the supervised area. Hard shell boats are prohibited from launching, landing or travelling in the supervised area. Inflatable boats, rafts or flotation devices are not allowed on days when the wind is blowing offshore. Beach conditions are recorded daily by lifeguard staff. To get to Dollar Lake provincial park from Halifax, take Highway 102 to exit 5A. After exiting the highway take the first left, and then the first right onto the Old Guysborough road. Follow this road for 20km and you can't miss it.
Martinique beach lost its supervision after 1996 but a surge in popularity resulted in lifeguard supervision once again starting in 2007. Martinique is a protected area for the piping plover and is a wildlife refuge. There are a limited number of facilities accessable to the public.
The lifeguards supervise an area of 200 meters. The surf is fairly consistent throughout the summer at 2-4 feet. Occasionally, the surf is larger and more dangerous which can create many currents and rips which can be dangerous for non-confident or weak swimmers. There is a gentle slope. Beach conditions are recorded daily by lifeguard staff. To get to Martinique beach from Halifax, take either Highway 107 or 207 to Musquodoboit Harbour and turn right onto East Petpeswick Road.
And lastly, Queensland Beach, one of only nine beaches that have been with the NSLS since the program was initiated. Queensland's facilities include change rooms, outhouses, and a 300m beach area. Queensland Beach is a particularly safe beach to swim. There are no rips or currents and generally no surf. The supervised swimming area is marked by two red and yellow flags on the beach and two red buoys in the water. Generally, the lifeguards supervise a 200 metre area, however, on busier days, the supervised area is usually increased.
Queensland generally experiences warmer water temperatures and smaller surf conditions than most other Nova Scotia Beaches located on the Atlantic. Beach conditions are recorded daily by lifeguard staff. At Queensland, balls and Frisbees are not permitted to be thrown within the supervised area. This is to ensure persons in the supervised area are safe. During days of offshore winds inflatables are not permitted, as they are easily blown out to sea. Queensland Beach is located in Saint Margaret's Bay.
On the municipal side, supervised beaches in HRM will open on July 1st. HRM lifeguards are equipped with emergency supplies and have specialized training in injury prevention and first aid. Hours of supervision are 11a.m. to 5p.m. Not all locations are supervised on weekends however, so check with the HRM beach phone line (490-5458) if in doubt.
The following beaches are supervised by HRM staff. They include daily maintenance and weekly water testing as well.
Albro Beach - Albro Lake - 199 Albro Lake Rd. Dartmouth
Birch Cove Beach - Banook Lake - 46 Oakdale Cres. Dartmouth
Black Rock Beach - Point Pleasant Park- Halifax
Campbell Point Beach - Hatchet Lake - 187 Lakewood Dr. - Halifax
Chocolate Beach - Chocolate Lake - 2 Melwood Ave. - Halifax
Cunard Beach - William's Lake - 121 William's Lake Rd. - Halifax
Dingle Beach - Fleming Park - Halifax
Kearney Beach - Kearney Lake - Kearney Lake Rd. - Halifax
Kidston Beach - Kidston Lake - 94 Fieldstone St. - Halifax
Kinap Beach - Porter's Lake - 181 Greenough Dr. - Porter's Lake
Kinsmen Beach - First Lake - 31 First Lake Dr. - Lower Sackville
Lake Echo Beach - Lake Echo - 3170 Highway #7 - Eastern Shore
Long Pond Beach - Long Pond - Herring Cove Rd. - Halifax
Mallay Falls - Sheet Harbour - Lochaber Mines Rd. - Eastern Shore
Oakfield Beach - Grand Lake - Oakfield Provincial Park - Oakfield
Penhorn Beach - Penhorn Lake - 70 Penhorn Dr. - Dartmouth
Pleasant Drive Beach - Petpeswick Lake - Pleasant Dr. - Eastern Shore
Sandy Lake Beach - Sandy Lake - 115 Smiths Rd. - Bedford
Shubie Beach - Lake Charles - Shubie Park - Dartmouth
Springfield Beach - Springfield Lake Park- Lakeview Ave. - Sackville
Webber's Beach - Lake Charlotte - Eastern Shore
Note: Saunders Beach, on Paper Mill Lake in Bedford, is closed for 2012.
HRM Beach Phone Line: 490-5458