A Tame Fourth Of July Reported By Nantucket's First Responders

Jason Graziadei •

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Nobadeer Beach, July 4th, 2024. Photo by Chris Tran

Two of Nantucket's most popular beaches reached their capacity for vehicles early on the Fourth of July, but overall the island's first responders reported a relatively tame holiday during what is typically Nantucket's busiest day of the year.

Crowds swarmed Nobadeer Beach on the south shore and 40th Pole beach on the north shore bright and early on Thursday, prompting the Nantucket Police Department to close both destinations to any additional vehicles just after 9 a.m.

Nantucket Police Department Lt. Angus MacVicar told the Current that more than 200 cars were on the sand at Nobadeer before vehicle access was restricted. Nantucket Harbormaster Sheila Lucey reported that an estimated 4,000 people were at 40th Pole, while Nobadeer saw another 2,500 people. 

Even so, MacVicar said, beyond the crowds at the beaches the Fourth of July overall was like "a normal busy day."

The island's first responders had support from four additional Massachusetts State Police Troopers who traveled from the mainland to join Nantucket's four island-based State Police Troopers during the holiday. Their arrival was delayed Thursday morning after a mixup at the Steamship Authority, but they made it to the island around 11:30 a.m.

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Massachusetts State Police Troopers arriving at the Nantucket Police Department to support the island's public safety agencies on the Fourth of July, 2024.

MacVicar told the Current that law enforcement responded to several situations at Nobadeer and 40th Pole throughout the day, including:

  • Noise complaints from the large gathering at Nobadeer. " There were many noise complaints from speakers at Nobadeer," MacVicar said. "The wind had a big part of that. It was coming inshore and carrying the music over the dunes."
  • One over-intoxicated juvenile was transported from Nobadeer to Nantucket Cottage Hospital for treatment.
  • One person was arrested on one of the roads leading to Nobadeer for underage drinking and possession of an open alcohol container.
  • Police responded to a report of a gathering of underage individuals drinking alcohol at 40th Pole Thursday afternoon. "Officers identified 50 juveniles who we didn't directly observe drinking but were likely the ones that we had been called about. They were dispersed after cleaning up the area," MacVicar said.
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40th Pole on the Fourth of July, 2024. Photo by Kit Noble

40th Pole was also closed to swimming by lifeguards just before 4 p.m. due to the strong offshore winds that were pushing swimmers and inflatables out to sea. Harbormaster Sheila Lucey said lifeguards had to enter the water 16 times to assist people before making the call to shut down swimming.

"All of the beaches were busy but no one beach was too busy," MacVicar added.

On the water, Nantucket Harbormaster Sheila Lucey also reported there were no significant public safety issues. A few of the situations Lucey's staff and lifeguards responded to included:

  • A 26-foot center console boat ran aground east of Pocomo Point. The vessel was refloated with the tide.
  • The USCG Brant Point auxiliary towed a 35-foot sailboat to its mooring with a fouled prop.
  • There was a confirmed fin sighting at Nobadeer about 500 yards offshore prompting lifeguards to close the water for an hour (rather than the normal two hours because the sighting was outside the swim zone.
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Lifeguards briefly closed Nobadeer Beach to swimming after a fin sighting. Photo by Chris Tran

Editor's note: due to incorrect information provided to the Current, an earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that the Massachusetts State Police Troopers were late arriving on the island due to a canceled Steamship Authority boat. There were no cancellations on the Fourth of July. It may have been due to a reservation change caused by the Steamship replacing the M/V Woods Hole with the M/V Sankaty earlier this year. We have requested clarification. 

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