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Winter at the Beach
March 2008 | Jon Edelbrock

Some people assert that southern California doesn't have real seasons. But in Del Mar, two seasons are distinct: Crowd-filled summers is one; the rest of the year is the other.

From my perspective as a Lifeguard, it seems as if a light switch is turned off the day after Labor Day each year. After a long summer of warm sun, long hours, and increased staffing, those of us who work year-round in the Community Services Department often take a deep breath; welcoming the off-season with a smile and eagerness to change gears and enjoy the community we work with.

With the decline in beach and community visitors, our staffing numbers dwindle accordingly; as tourists, students, and fair-weather beachgoers return home. Our Lifeguard staff numbers drop from twenty employees on any given day down to three to six guards per day.

The shift in seasons also prompts us year-round Lifeguards to reflect on the department and set goals to enhance our service to the community and regionally. Off-season maintenance tasks; refining of training materials, facility and equipment maintenance, augment our usual tasks of maintaining a safe and accessible beach.

Most notable among our tasks was our need to supplement and improve beach-safety materials available for our off-site school visits as well as group visits to the beach. We recently completed a beach-education video and installed a monitor downstairs at our Lifeguard Headquarters. The video has turned out to be a great success, and we are in production on two more videos. Additionally, we believe this type of public education could expand further to other Lifeguard towers, thereby efficiently serving a need of basic safety education.

Education, training, and mutual-aid refinement, have all been a strong part of our beach off-season. Our core team members have participated in multiple inter-department trainings and mutual aids with neighboring Lifeguard and Fire agencies, including an upcoming River Rescue course and Cliff Rescue training on the bluffs at North Beach. We usually try to keep the trainings fun, yet serious. Deputy Lifeguard Chief Mark Rathsam and I recently made the most of our Cliff Rescue training by roping up the side of our Lifeguard tower to clean the windows, in addition to refining our skills.

The Lifeguards hope you're enjoying these winter months as we are. As always, please let us know if you have any great ideas of how we can enhance our services and better serve the community. Until then, we hope to see you enjoying the beautiful beach in Del Mar.


Jon Edelbrock reports from his job at Lifeguard Headquarters.



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