Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Southern California ocean lifeguards watch over 129 million beach-goers every year stretched along the coast in the Los Angeles area.

Huntington Beach is the most crowded and popular beach in the SoCal region with over 12,600,000 annual visitors to its 8-mile beach. 45% of these visitors enter the Pacific Ocean either to swim, surf or splash in the water. As such, Huntington Beach‘s training of its lifeguards are expected to be comprehensive and their professionalism is without question.

During the course of their day, lifeguards identify and rescue persons and vessels in distress; they take command in emergencies while performing first-aid and CPR. They notify headquarters of accidents and rescues as well as prepare reports, remove hazards, and assist the public and visitors of information, advice, rules and regulations. They operate emergency vehicles and marine vessels and must have the stamina and strength to rescue struggling victims in the water – sometimes dozens in the course of a day with heavy surf.

In order to qualify, the lifeguards must complete a 1000-yard ocean swim under 20 minutes, run 200 yards + swim 400 yards + run 200 yards under 10 minutes, know how to jump from a pier and remain level-headed while utilizing equipment and tools in the course of an emergency.

Upper photo shows swimmer and water polo player Robbie Esson training off the Huntington Beach Pier as thousands of other Southern California lifeguards have done in the past.

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association