The Marine Safety Department is responsible for 5.5 miles of City coastline and 17 square miles of ocean. Marine Safety has seven full-time safety positions, three recurrent positions and approximately 100 seasonal and recurrent positions. In addition, Marine Safety has one full-time Marine Protection Officer that is responsible for Marine Environment Education and Enforcement. Lifeguard services are provided 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Marine Safety’s primary duties are ocean rescue, emergency medical treatment, prevention, enforcement and public assistance. The Department also provides technical rescue response in scuba search and recovery, cliff rescue response and backcountry extrication. During an average year, Marine Safety personnel rescue 3,500 beach-goers and give medical attention to another 4,000 people. Lifeguards also enforce beach and marine municipal ordinances, and issue 170,000 safety warnings annually. The Marine Safety Department is organized into four divisions: Field Operations (summer), Junior Lifeguards, Field Operations ( off-season), Training and Marine Education and Enforcement.
Field Operations (summer) – Summer deployment consists of 48 positions per day providing lifeguard coverage to the City and Irvine Cove beaches. Summer operations are structured into six divisions. Division One covers Irvine Cove to Rock Pile beach and is serviced by eight lifeguard owers and a mobile supervisorial unit. Division Two covers Main Beach and is serviced by 12 lifeguard positions and mobile supervisorial unit. Division Three covers Sleepy Hollow Beach to Pearl Street Beach and is serviced by eight lifeguard towers and a mobile supervisorial unit. Division Four covers from Pearl Street Beach to Treasure Island and is serviced by seven lifeguard towers and a mobile supervisorial unit. Division Five consists of dispatching, administrative, training and maintenance services. Division six consists of marine enforcement, patrol and education.
Junior Lifeguards – The Junior Lifeguard Program instructs the youth of Laguna Beach and surrounding areas in ocean awareness and safety, self-rescue skills, marine ecology, basic first aid and responsible enjoyment of our coastal resources. Each year approximately 400 youths between the ages of 8 and 15 participate in the program. A Junior Lifeguard Coordinator, two Lead Instructors, four Assistant Instructors and three Youth Aides supervise the participants. The Community Services Department handles advertising and registration for the program.
Field Operations and Training (off-season) – Off-season deployment is initiated from September 7 to June 19. Operations during the off-season consist of seven full-time lifeguards, three recurrent lifeguards, one Marine Safety Protection Officer and 20 seasonal employees. Several deployment schedules are utilized to address varied seasonal and weekend demands. Field Operations include patrol, emergency response, nighttime response, marine ecological patrol protection and maintenance. Marine Safety has five separate levels of training that are required by the United States Surf Lifesaving Association. The specific levels of training are: Marine Safety Officer certification training, technical rescue training, supervisor training, seasonal training and rookie academy training. Most of the Marine Safety Department’s training takes place in the off-season.
Marine Education and Enforcement – The Marine Protection Officer patrols beaches issuing warnings and citations regarding marine violations. The full-time Marine Protection Officer is responsible for patrol, educating school children, community service groups, residents and visitors about marine ecology.