Palm Beach County Ocean Rescue: Lifesaving and Marine Safety for 40 Years

Ninety-one certified Ocean Rescue lifeguards provide drowning prevention, rescue, and emergency medical services at thirteen scenic, world-renowned oceanfront and inlet beach parks. The waters along our shores are dynamic as well as beautiful, and rapidly changing conditions call for unique training, specialized skills, and considerable athletic ability.

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Rip currents pose a hidden danger here in South Florida. Local swimmers are grateful for the proven skills of Ocean Rescue Lifeguards such as Chase Robertson.

To be considered for an Ocean Rescue Lifeguard position, applicants are required to have a current American Red Cross Lifeguard and CPR/AED certificate. Applicants also participate in a run-swim-run test and are tested on their rescue and medical skills. Only then are they formally interviewed and considered for an Ocean Lifeguard position.

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Many lifeguards are also SCUBA certified, licensed boat captains, and trained and certified boat operators for rescue boats or Personal Water Crafts (PWC).

New recruits are required to participate in an 80-hour Ocean Rescue Trainee Academy. The Academy introduces new lifeguards to vigorous and stringent Palm Beach County policies, procedures, and rescue techniques. Academy graduates must also become certified as Emergency Medical Response Workers (EMR), training that surpasses the requirements of American Red Cross Lifeguard certification. Members of our Ocean Rescue staff are uniquely qualified and authorized to provide this important EMR training through an agreement, renewed this past year, with the State of Florida Department of Health’s Bureau of Emergency Medical Services.

Palm Beach County’s Ocean Rescue team is of the highest professional caliber. It is well worth noting that the majority of our team are certified as Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT), a step above EMR certification.

As a United States Lifesaving Association (USLA) Certified Agency, our Ocean Rescue team members are also authorized to provide training for individual Palm Beach County Open Water Lifeguard certification.

“Ocean Rescue is about team unity,” says North County District Captain Julia Leo with pride. “The lifeguards train hard to work seamlessly together in life and death situations—they’re always focused on public safety and the welfare of our park patrons. It’s a great feeling when tragedy is averted and a life is saved because everyone worked together as a team.”

“Ocean Rescue has evolved and grown to keep pace with its rapidly changing environment,” agreed Ocean Rescue Lieutenant Rick Welch. “Each of us brings his or her strengths to create a really exceptional public safety team. I’m privileged to be a part of it.”

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