According to the United States Lifesaving Association, about 100 people die from drowning in Rip Currents every year. Do you know how to spot a Rip Current — or what to do if you’re caught in one? Watch this video to learn some life-saving tips.
During COVID-19 park closures, dedicated Ocean Rescue staff continue to perform their critical work. The following quote is from PBC Ocean Rescue Lifeguard Erik Pointer to Ocean Rescue Chief Julia Leo.
“Chief Leo, Just wanted to say that while working this week enforcing beach closures, I have observed many people outside of our guarded areas and some inside attempting to enter the ocean water. Relying on 25 years of marine safety, ocean rescue, and personnel management, I believe that no matter what happens in our future, people, young and old, will continue in their pursuit to be outdoors and enter the ocean. Based on my experience, we cannot leave these park beaches and communities here to fend for themselves in the ocean nor can we place that necessary responsibility on our Firefighters and/or Policemen & women. During my duties, I was able to observe a large area of coastline and make contact with a lot of these patrons and using good social distancing, I was able to educate them on the new guidelines of beach closure and risks of entering the ocean alone without a lifeguard on duty. We are the only ones out there for 10 hours per day that have the necessary advanced training in the unparalleled and high risk environment of ocean rescue and marine safety.”
With more than 40 miles of shoreline and ideal beach weather year-round, it’s no wonder Palm Beach County beaches are popular destinations for residents and tourists. Whether you’re looking for an adventurous day on the waves, or a relaxing escape in the sun, there are so many ways to enjoy Palm Beach County beaches.
The Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department, recognized nationally for excellence in park and recreation management, operates more than 110 parks and recreational facilities and provides organized recreational programs and services for people of all ages and abilities. Visit http://www.pbcparks.com for more information.
The 2018 United States Lifesaving Association Southeast Regional Championships were held at Flagler Beach on July 26th and 27th. This competition was attended by 22 beach patrols from the Southeast Region with some of the best open water athletes in the nation.
This first place win was an important victory for the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department’s Ocean Rescue team (PBCOR). PBCOR is one of the largest beach patrols in the Southeast Region and strives to attract and retain full-time lifeguards of the highest caliber. Competing and placing first in a USLA Regional Competition helps attract top guards from around the nation to make their careers at Palm Beach County.
USLA Competitions are one of the only organized sports that directly promotes life saving. In winning the first place Southeast Regional title, PBCOR competitors did a fantastic job promoting and representing their public safety agency. In addition to their required training on duty, many of the guards trained hard off duty to win this event.
The competition consists of 10 individual events that include: surf swim, paddleboard, surf ski, singles surf boat, beach flags, iron guard, ironman/woman, American ironman/woman, run swim run, and 2K beach. There are six team events: doubles surf boat and paddleboard rescueand 4X100 run relay, line pull rescue, surf rescue, and taplin relay.
- Lieutenant Chase Robertson was the highest overall point scorer for Palm Beach County and the second highest male point scorer for the entire competition with a total of 89.5 points. He competed and placed in 12 events and won first place in 9 events.
- Jessica Ventura was the highest overall female point scorer for Palm Beach County with a total of 64 points and competed in a total of 18 events placing first in age group surf swim, board race, surf ski, international iron woman, run swim paddle and run swim run.
- Tiffany Lacasse-Johnson was the second highest overall female point scorer for Palm Beach County with a total point score of 60.7 from a total of 20 events.
- Senior Guard Lieutenant Phil Harris returned this year to compete in seven events. Highlights were winning first place in the age group run-swim-run, and 2nd place in surf swim, board race, 2k beach run, and beach flags. His daughter, Chase Harris, who swam for FIU and recently graduated proudly competed alongside her dad finishing 6th in the highly competitive open women’s swim.
- Senior Guard and Training Officer Steve Kaes was there to compete and his guidance and help were invaluable to all the competitors before, during and after the event. For years he captained the Competition Team and our success this year was accomplished on the foundation Steve Kaes and other senior guards have built over the years.
Remember to swim near a lifeguard when you visit the beach. For more information, visit USLA.org.
Planning a visit to a Palm Beach County-operated park? Check out these tips to help make your visit a happy, healthy one.
- Lock your car & store your belongings properly:
Park Rangers and Law Enforcement are present at select county parks for your safety; however, if you’ll be traveling by vehicle, leave your valuables at home. Don’t leave bags, boxes, cell phones and other electronics and money on display in your vehicle. If you cannot take these items with you into the park, be sure to lock them safely in your trunk, where they’re out of view, before you arrive. Finally, lock all your doors and windows upon leaving your car.
- Use sun protection & stay hydrated:
Sun protection and hydration are especially important in South Florida’s climate. Follow these tips for proper sun protection:
- The sun’s rays are strongest between 10am-4pm, so be especially cautious during these times.
- If you run out of water, most county parks have drinking fountains located near restroom buildings.
- Apply and re-apply sunscreen. Coconut Cove Water Park and select Palm Beach County beach parks offer sunscreen dispensers so patrons have access to free sun protection.
- Wear protective clothing, like long-sleeved shirts and long pants, when possible.
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
- Wear flip flops or shoes when walking on sand.
- Know ‘Trash In, Trash Out’ locations:
Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation has identified a number of parks that have “trash in, trash out” policies, including Riverbend Park, and many neighborhood parks. We ask park visitors to dispose of any waste they may carry into the park, outside the park. This ensures a clean habitat for the animals living in our parks and helps maintain an aesthetic environment for park visitors, while reducing maintenance costs.
- Coexist with animals:
Hundreds of animal species call our parks “home”. From wild birds to tortoises and bobcats to alligators, every animal plays an important role in each ecosystem. Disturbing the animals in our parks may do harm to them and their ecosystems, yourself, or the people around you. Please maintain a safe distance and do not approach animals when you come across them.
Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation discourages feeding wildlife as it reduces the animal’s natural fear of humans and may create safety issues. Please take notice of signs in many of our parks denoting safety recommendations for areas which may be home to alligators.
See our blog for a video on coexisting with our parks’ animals: https://pbcparks.wordpress.com/2016/01/05/tips-on-coexisting-with-our-parks-animals/
- Know where you can bring your dog:
Dogs are permitted in most county parks as long as they’re on a leash no longer than six feet. Dogs are not allowed on county beaches, pools, water parks, splash parks, and these other locations.
PBC Parks operates three spacious and well-maintained dog parks for your furry friends to run, jump and play! Whether they’re big or small, your pooch will have fun at these three dog parks.
- Stay on the designated paths:
PBC Parks and Recreation makes it easy for you to explore our natural areas with park and trail maps. Veering off these paths and into areas not meant for exploration may disturb the animals and plants that live in the areas and may pose a safety risk to you and your family. Please observe these areas from the designated trails and paths, using maps and guides for assistance.
As the saying goes, #pbcParks asks that you “take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time” to fully enjoy our parks.
Park Ranger information:
Park Rangers are nearby to greet and assist you, answer questions, and watch out for your well-being. If you have a question for a Palm Beach County Park Ranger, you can give them a call at 561-262-1714 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Beaches are the number one reason visitors come to Palm Beach County – and #pbcParks wants to keep every visitor safe – on the sand and in the water.
Watch this short video for everything you need to know about staying safe while enjoying our 16 county-operated beach parks – from rip currents and lifeguard flags to sun exposure and more!
We make the quality of life for Palm Beach County residents and visitors better by providing diverse, safe and affordable recreation services, welcoming parks, and enriching social and cultural experiences. We achieve this by promoting wellness, fostering environmental stewardship, contributing economic value, and by improving our community every day for this and future generations.
The Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department and Florida Off-Road Cycling Enthusiasts teamed up to create this short video about the importance of wearing your bicycle helmet while riding through bike trails at our parks, as well as outside of our trails.
Watch this video to hear from members of F.O.R.C.E, find out how to properly fit a helmet, and see what happens to two pumpkins dropped from four stories – one shielded with a helmet, and one without!
http://www.cp-cto.org/Safe-Kids: Safe Kids Palm Beach provides important safety information and resources, including access to free bike helmets
The Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department is committed to enhancing the quality of life for children and adults with disabilities, as well as their families. Find out all the ways families can enjoy exercise with children who have a disability.
Therapeutic Recreation Complex
The Palm Beach County CMAA Therapeutic Recreation Complex is a facility designed for individuals with physical and cognitive disabilities. The facility incorporates a state-of-the-art design with sophisticated adapted equipment that allows everyone to participate in sports and physical activity. People of all ages and abilities can train and compete in sports, participate in fitness programs, and experience a wide array of visual and performing arts programs. Kids and parents can play a variety of sports at the TR complex, including wheelchair basketball, boccia, goalball, wheelchair rugby, and more. Gleneagles Country Club Aquatic Center is also located at the TR Complex in John Prince Park and is open from April thru September; pool lifts are available for individuals with physical disabilities to assist with entering the water.
John Prince Park Wheelchair Course
Palm Beach County parks allow children and families a chance to exercise and live active lifestyles, regardless of age, gender or ability. During a visit to John Prince Park in Lake Worth, you’ll find a nearly half-mile long Wheelchair Course. Participants can travel down the trail, completing a series of exercises at seven stations throughout the course. Each stop includes clearly marked instructions on completing the exercises.
Barrier-free playgrounds & accessible equipment
Three barrier-free playgrounds located in John Prince, Lake Ida West, and Burt Aaronson South County Regional Parks provide children with and without disabilities a colorful, sensory-rich, accessible experience to run, jump, roll and slide. Newly-installed accessible playground equipment is also available for children to enjoy at Lake Worth West Park in the Central part of the county. Palm Beach County playgrounds are inspected and beautifully-maintained to ensure the safest and most enjoyable experience for families and children.
Fitness zone®, Stations & Exercise Courses
Select Palm Beach County Parks offer Fitness Zone® Exercise Areas, Fitness Stations and Exercise Courses for all abilities to utilize. At John Prince Park, a Fitness Zone® allows parents and kids the opportunity to use 17 pieces of outdoor, resistance exercise equipment that uses one’s own body weight for strength-training purposes. The equipment is accessible for people of all abilities. Fitness stations with accessible equipment are also available at Westgate Park and Lake Worth West Park. Families can also spend time stretching, bending and balancing at exercise courses in a number of parks located throughout Palm Beach County.
For more information on enjoying our parks with children who have a disability, visit pbcParks.com.
Thanks to a generous donation from the Palm Beach County Community Assistance and Benefit Corporation, two PBC Ocean Lifeguards will now have the chance to better serve Palm Beach County’s beachgoers.
On September 15, PBC Ocean Rescue was presented with a $4,400 scholarship check, which will go to helping two PBC Ocean Lifeguards take the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) course, in order to secure their EMT Certifications. EMT’s provide pre-hospital and emergency care that can make a difference between life and death, and are recognized by the emergency medical community as a key link in the “chain of survival.” The scope of knowledge required of EMT’s is broad.
“The ultimate benefactors of these scholarships are the beachgoers who visit [Palm Beach County],” said Ocean Rescue Lifeguard Dennis Ward.
Trainees will receive on-the-scene training, such as rides with Fire/Rescue paramedics, shifts working in local hospital ER’s, as well as being directly involved in medical care, from severe trauma, to pediatric, cardiac, language barriers and more, which will prepare them for a variety of different scenarios on a beach setting. “EMT is a crash course in a sometimes very harsh environment,” explained Ward.
The scholarship money will not only mean an improved skill set for two PBC Ocean Rescue Lifeguards, but it will also help maintain Palm Beach County’s continued leadership status in the Ocean Rescue industry.
“Fortunately, we have groups like the CAB Corp. and Mr. [Lance] Berkowitz in our community, and lifeguard supervisors/administrators that clearly see the value and need for quality professional EMS care,” said Ward.