Jon Edelbrock | Del Mar Lifeguard Sergeant
Photo courtesy Jon Edelbrock
By all accounts our Lifeguard staff has had an amazing summer. For starters the Community Services staff moved into the new Beach Safety Center at the end of June. The transition to our new digs couldn’t have come at a busier time and presented such a stark contrast to our former home. Lifeguards have a renewed sense of pride, achievement, and the feeling that we’re at the center of beach life as Ambassadors of the City.
Lifeguards also had the finest beach weather we’ve seen in 3 years with the majority of our beach days being sunny and warm. The water temperature has been pleasant after two colder than average summers and we’ve enjoyed a thick layer of fine grain sand over our beach. Other happenings this summer at the beach include beach youth camps, a rare “green tide”, and lots of action and training for our new lifeguard staff.
Department trainings increased this summer. After hiring only 7 new Student Lifeguards the past two summers, we suddenly found the need for 13 new seasonal employees with many of our more seasoned Lifeguards working part-time or moving on to other opportunities. Deputy Chief Mark Rathsam and I spearheaded the trainings beginning in May with offerings in CPR, First Aid, Cliff Rescue, SCUBA, and boat driving and crewing classes.
Beachgoers and guards are seeing an increase in fishing vessels just offshore this summer. Perhaps the best explanation for the increase is the January 1st change in the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) affecting North County. A fishing ban exists within 3 miles offshore (between Cardiff and Carlsbad) forcing fisherman south to Del Mar and Solana Beach. The ban occurred to help support locally healthy and abundant fish populations. Seems fisherman have had some nice catches of White Sea Bass and other fish there.
The “Green Tide” phytoplankton bloom along our shoreline, a rare occurrence, has covered our local waters for much of our summer. While not toxic to humans, the algae bloom has prompted many questions and concerns from visitors. We’ve quelled the fear by educating on the harmless nature of the bloom citing research from Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
August means steadily declining crowds and also a decrease in staff. Seasonal employees return to the classroom or other work. Our crew this summer was amazing and included teachers, University athletes, University Fellows, a Rhodes scholar, and even some medical students. It’s an easy crew to brag about. They certainly do a great job at tearing down any “beach slacker” stereotypes!
As always, we’re thankful to serve the community down at the beach. We’re proud to have helped provide another summer full of Safe Fun in the Sun!