June 2020

21 Faces of Lowcountry Hospitality: Keegan Schlager

Author: Special to CH2 | Photographer: M.KAT Photography

Keegan Schlager
Lifeguard Shore Beach Services

When a kid from Nebraska wants to be a lifeguard, he’s got to move to where the water is. So, that’s exactly what Keegan Schlager did in 2014. After spending the majority of his college years swimming, lifeguarding seemed like a natural fit. An older beach supervisor he worked with in Nebraska encouraged him to apply to Shore Beach Services, and seven years later, he’s still here, keeping an eye on you while you enjoy the beaches of Hilton Head Island.

What do you love about being a lifeguard?
I really like meeting all of the people that come to the beach. You meet people from everywhere—and also Ohio—all different professions and interests. Usually our interactions with island visitors are pretty positive. It’s nice to meet them and liven up our day a little bit.

What is the most frequently asked question by visitors, and what is your answer?
Are there sharks in the water? The answer is yes, there are sharks in the water. You typically don’t see them because the water is murky. Generally, sharks have no interest in humans. If we spot them, we’ll pull everyone out of the water. We don’t have too many incidents with sharks.

If you could advise our visitors to do just one thing while they were here, what would it be?
We have a new ordinance on the beach in regard to holes, so we would encourage everyone to not dig holes on the beach deeper than one foot. And if you do, please fill them in before you leave. Holes trap loggerhead turtles trying to lay eggs or new hatchlings as they make their way to the water.

If someone loses their child on the beach, what should they do?
Come find a lifeguard. We can put in a missing person alert with a description to our whole team up and down the beach and quickly find who is missing.

Are cannonball jellyfish harmless or poisonous to humans?
I’ve touched quite a few of them. They are pretty slimy and gross, but they won’t hurt you.

Unofficial poll: Where do most of our visitor’s hail from?
Ahhh … Ohio? Definitely Ohio.

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