The most pressing issue addressed at the November 18 Pacific Beach Town Council meeting was the looming likelihood of a reduction in lifeguards. It was pointed out that the city’s reported goal of reducing the budget by 17 percent would have a significant impact on lifeguards.
According to Gavin McBride, spokesman for the San Diego Association for Lifeguards, a 17 percent reduction to the lifeguard budget would be equivalent to approximately $3 million.
“If you take us off beaches, you lose your first line of response,” said McBride. “We’d be forced to reduce two-person stations to one-person stations. If we do this, one person is going to have to go get the truck, take his eyes off the victim, and hope he will be able to find the him again.... People will die...it happened in 1983.... They reduced the number of lifeguards...within a week someone drowned.”
On average, 22.3 million people visit San Diego beaches annually. Lifeguards perform over 5000 water rescues, 3500 medical aids, and 30 cliff rescues per year. McBride also said that lifeguards perform approximately 200,000 preventative acts each year.
A local resident and mother voiced her concerns and challenged Mayor Jerry Sanders to “eliminate unnecessary office assistance in some of our agencies and keep our lifeguards on our beaches.”
For more information as to how you can help save our lifeguards visit: san-dal.webs.com